Objectives. To define guidelines for the assessment of treatment in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). Methods. In the light of modern research, and taking new treatment options into account, the Committee essays to specify different categories of patients entering clinical trials, and to define response criteria and those endpoints that are relevant in phase III studies and in short-term follow-up. Results. HRPC comprises a range of disease states with varying responsiveness to therapy and length of survival. Patients with progression as evaluated by increasing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) values alone have a more favorable prognosis than those presenting with increasing tumor spread. In the assessment of these patients, the modes of previous therapy and the kind of tumor progression must be taken into account. The benefit of treatment of HRPC is often modest. While duration of survival remains the main and ultimate endpoint, the means of measuring short-term responsiveness to therapy are limited. A minority of patients have measurable tumor lesions. Decrease of PSA or other biochemical tumor markers may indicate depression of the tumor activity, but is not always associated with prolongation of survival. A variety of new treatments in HRPC are being investigated. They affect measurable tumor parameters in different ways. Conclusions. When a new agent is to be tested, it is important to measure all possible parameters before deciding which particular ones are appropriate for future investigations of this agent. In symptomatic patients, evaluation of subjective parameters, for example, relief of pain or improvement of performance status, is often the most reliable measure of treatment effect. However, these parameters should be clearly defined.
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