Prostate cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer among American men and it is a malignant disease that affects men’s reproductive system. Due to the location of the prostate, below the bladder, near the rectum and surrounding the urethra, prostate cancer affects both the reproductive and urinary systems. There are, however, treatment options for patients who suffer from the disease, including watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapyhormone therapy, vaccine treatment, bone-directed treatment, and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is based on the use of anti-cancer drugs, injected into a vein or ingested, to kill the cancerous cells.

It is a common course of treatment for oncology patients, but in the case of prostate cancer, it is usually not the first option. However, it may be indicated for patients whose cancer has metastasized to other organs rather than just the prostate, or when hormone therapy is not working. The chemotherapy drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include Docetaxel (Taxotere®), Cabazitaxel (Jevtana®), Mitoxantrone (Novantrone®), Estramustine (Emcyt®), Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), Etoposide (VP-16), Vinblastine (Velban®), Paclitaxel (Taxol®), Carboplatin (Paraplatin®), and Vinorelbine (Navelbine®) for chemotherapy in the USA.

How Mitoxantrone Works

Mitoxantrone is classified an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, also known as antineoplastic, cytotoxic or anti tumor antibiotic. The drug is injected into the veins and is rapidly absorbed by the tissues. Then, it is slowly released with a terminal half-life ranging from 8.9 hours to nine days, being the highest concentrations of the drug typically found in the thyroid, liver, and heart. Mitoxantrone may be used to treat patients with advanced prostate cancer not responding to hormone treatment and in combination with steroids, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or multiple sclerosis (MS).

Its mechanism of action is focused on reducing disease progression and through a variety of different ways. “For example, it suppresses the proliferation of T cells, B cells, and macrophages,” explained the authors of the study “Mechanism of action of mitoxantrone.” “It impairs antigen presentation and decreases the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Mitoxantrone enhances T-cell suppressor function and inhibits B-cell function and antibody production. Finally, it inhibits macrophage-mediated myelin degradation. Compared with interferon betas, mitoxantrone has a broad range of actions and has effects on many different types of immune cells.”

Mitoxantrone to Treat Prostate Cancer

“Mitoxantrone, a synthetic anthracenedione, was developed in the 1980s as a doxorubicin analogue in a program to find a cytotoxic agent with decreased cardiotoxicity compared with doxorubicin,” added the investigators about the drug that is commercialized by Immunex Corporation under the brand name Novantrone®. “It was approved by the FDA in 1987 for the treatment of adult acute myeloid leukemia and in 1996 for symptomatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer. In 2000, mitoxantrone was approved by the FDA for the treatment of worsening relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), secondary progressive MS, and progressive-relapsing MS.”

It is indicated for the treatment of a variety of conditions. In the case of prostate cancer, mitoxantrone is particularly indicated for patients with advanced disease resistant to other medication, together with steroid medications and to relieve pain. It is expected to stop the growth of the tumor and spread of cancer cells. However, there are also potential side effects associated to the treatment with this drug. These include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, loss of appetite, sores on the mouth and tongue, runny or stuffed nose, thinning or loss of hair, changes in the area around or under fingernails and toenails, extreme tiredness, weakness, headache, back pain. In addition, mitoxantrone has been proven the cause for the development of leukemia later in life in 1% of patients treated with it for prostate cancer.

Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.