Antitumor activity of suramin in hormone‐refractory prostate cancer controlling for hydrocortisone treatment and flutamide withdrawal as potentially confounding variables

Nancy A. Dawson*, Michael R. Cooper, William D. Figg, Donna J. Headlee, Alain Thibault, Raymond C. Bergan, Seth M. Steinberg, Edward A. Sausville, Charles E. Myers, Oliver Sartor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background. A prospective Phase II clinical trial was conducted to assess the clinical activity of a pharmacokinetically guided suramin regimen in patients who had documented progression of metastatic prostate cancer after hydrocortisone plus antecedent or simultaneous withdrawal of flutamide. Methods. Fifty‐four patients whose disease had progressed after castration and flutamide administration were enrolled on this trial. The study was divided into two parts. Initially, 52 patients received hydrocortisone (30 mg/day) and for those patients receiving flutamide, at study entry (34 patients) flutamide was simultaneously discontinued. Forty‐three patients whose disease progressed on hydrocortisone received suramin for 6‐8 weeks. Six patients who progressed on hydrocortisone became ineligible for suramin due to clinical deterioration, four patients are still responding to hydrocortisone at more than 1 year, and one patient elected to postpone initiation of suramin. Suramin was given as intermittent infusions at fixed doses on days 1‐5 and thereafter dosing was guided by adaptive control with feedback to maintain plasma suramin concentrations between 300‐175 ρg/ml. Antitumor activity was assessed by prostate specific antigen (PSA) decline and soft‐tissue disease response. Results. Ten patients (19%; 95% CI, 9.6%‐32.5%) responded to hydrocortisone therapy with either a 50% or greater PSA decline for at least 4 weeks (9 patients) and/ or a partial response of measurable soft‐tissue disease (2 patients). Five of these patients (10%) demonstrated a 80% or greater PSA decline. All responders to hydrocortisone had simultaneous flutamide withdrawal, and had been receiving flutamide as part of initial combined androgen blockade. Seven of 37 evaluable patients (19%; 95% CI, 8.0%‐35.2%) responded to suramin with a 50% or greater decline in PSA for 4 weeks or longer. One patient (3%) had a 80% or greater decline in PSA. There were no soft‐tissue disease responses to suramin. The median time to progression was 1.9 months for hydrocortisone therapy and 2.6 months for suramin therapy. The median survival for all patients was 14.6 months. Conclusion. Suramin has antitumor activity in metastatic prostate carcinoma independent of the therapeatic effect of hydrocortisone administration or flutamide withdrawal. The role of prior flutamide withdrawal and hydrocortisone replacement should be taken into account in future studies of suramin. Cancer 1995; 76:453–62.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • flutamide
  • hydrocortisone
  • prostate specific antigen
  • prostatic neoplasms
  • suramin


Dive into the research topics of 'Antitumor activity of suramin in hormone‐refractory prostate cancer controlling for hydrocortisone treatment and flutamide withdrawal as potentially confounding variables'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this