Background: Docetaxel has recently been found to improve survival in patients with metastatic androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC). Chemotherapy as a first-line option leaves room for improvement, while second-line options are multiple and somewhat controversial. Methods: Clinically relevant articles focusing on chemotherapy drugs for metastatic prostate cancer and their mechanism of action and efficacy were reviewed from January 2004 through April 2006. Results: Docetaxel is the standard of care for AIPC. However, for doublets with docetaxel or second-line chemotherapy, multiple studies have shown interesting and promising results with calcitriol, thalidomide, bevacizumab, satraplatin, vaccines, ixabepilone, and atrasentan. Conclusions: Docetaxel should be considered for first-line treatment of metastatic AIPC. Due to its progression-free survival of only 6 months, more effective drugs and drug combinations need to be developed to treat patients with AIPC. Combination treatments with docetaxel and other new agents are promising, but adequately powered phase III trials need to be conducted with survival as the principal endpoint for these promising drug combinations.
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