Satraplatin for Prostate Cancer

Last Modified: March 11, 2007


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My husband has enrolled in a clinical trial for a drug called satraplatin. What can you tell me about it?


Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:

Satraplatin is a member of the platinum family of chemotherapy drugs, which includes cisplatin and carboplatin. Satraplatin is given in a pill form and has recently reported results from phase III clinical trials, where satraplatin was given with prednisone and compared to placebo plus prednisone in hormone refractory prostate cancer. The results reported thus far have shown about a 40% improvement in progression free survival for patients receiving the satraplatin regimen. Progression free survival is a measure researchers use to evaluate therapies, which refers to the time until the disease begins to grow while on the therapy. Many of the men on the trial had previously been treated with other chemotherapy agents. This drug is not yet approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the European equivalent.

The platinum family of chemotherapies is known to cause myelosuppression (a reduction of blood counts) and this was seen in the satraplatin trial. Patients developed thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), leukopenia (low white blood cell count) and neutropenia (low neutrophil count). These side effects can be managed with transfusions, growth factors and, if necessary, reducing the dose of satraplatin. Some patients also experienced gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. There were also a few reports of respiratory complications, although these have not yet been described in detail. Two side effects commonly associated with platinum drugs, nephrotoxicity (kidney problems) and peripheral neuropathies, were not seen with satraplatin.

More results from this trial are expected to be released in the coming year. The company is applying to the FDA for approval as second-line chemotherapy for hormone refractory prostate cancer.