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1.  The impact of method of distal ureter management during radical nephroureterectomy on tumour recurrence 
Canadian Urological Association Journal  2014;8(11-12):E845-E852.
Radical nephroureterectomy for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) must include some form of distal ureter management to avoid high rates of tumour recurrence. It is uncertain which distal ureter management technique has the best oncologic outcomes. To determine which distal ureter management technique resulted in the lowest tumour recurrence rate, we analyzed a multi-institutional Canadian radical nephroureterectomy database.
We retrospectively analyzed patients who underwent radical nephroureterectomy with distal ureter management for UTUC between January 1990 and June 2010 at 10 Canadian tertiary hospitals. Distal ureter management approaches were divided into 3 categories: (1) extravesical tenting for ureteric excision without cystotomy (EXTRAVESICAL); (2) open cystotomy with intravesical bladder cuff excision (INTRAVESICAL); and (3) extravesical excision with endoscopic management of ureteric orifice (ENDOSCOPIC). Data available for each patient included demographic details, distal ureter management approach, pathology and operative details, as well as the presence and location of local or distant recurrence. Clinical outcomes included overall recurrence-free survival and intravesical recurrence-free survival. Survival analysis was performed with the Kaplan-Meier method. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was also performed.
A total of 820 patients underwent radical nephroureterectomy with a specified distal ureter management approach at 10 Canadian academic institutions. The mean patient age was 69.6 years and the median follow-up was 24.6 months. Of the 820 patients, 406 (49.5%) underwent INTRAVESICAL, 316 (38.5%) underwent EXTRAVESICAL, and 98 (11.9%) underwent ENDOSOPIC distal ureter management. Groups differed significantly in their proportion of females, proportion of laparoscopic cases, presence of carcinoma in situ and pathological tumour stage (p < 0.05). Recurrence-free survival at 5 years was 46.3%, 35.6%, and 30.1% for INTRAVESICAL, EXTRAVESICAL and ENDOSCOPIC, respectively (p < 0.05). Multivariable Cox regression analysis confirmed that INTRAVESICAL resulted in a lower hazard of recurrence compared to EXTRAVESICAL and ENDOSCOPIC. When looking only at intravesical recurrence-free survival (iRFS), a similar trend held up with INTRAVESICAL having the highest iRFS, followed by ENDOSCOPIC and then EXTRAVESICAL management (p < 0.05). At last follow-up, 406 (49.5%) patients were alive and free of disease.
Open intravesical excision of the distal ureter (INTRAVESICAL) during radical nephroureterectomy was associated with improved overall and intravesical recurrence-free survival compared with extravesical and endoscopic approaches. These findings suggest that INTRAVESICAL should be considered the gold standard oncologic approach to distal ureter management during radical nephroureterectomy. Limitations of this study include its retrospective design, heterogeneous cohort, and limited follow-up.
PMCID: PMC4250251  PMID: 25485014
2.  Denosumab and Bone Metastasis–Free Survival in Men With Nonmetastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Exploratory Analyses by Baseline Prostate-Specific Antigen Doubling Time 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(30):3800-3806.
Denosumab, an anti–RANK ligand monoclonal antibody, significantly increases bone metastasis–free survival (BMFS; hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; P = .028) and delays time to first bone metastasis in men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ≥ 8.0 ng/mL and/or PSA doubling time (PSADT) ≤ 10.0 months. To identify men at greatest risk for bone metastasis or death, we evaluated relationships between PSA and PSADT with BMFS in the placebo group and the efficacy and safety of denosumab in men with PSADT ≤ 10, ≤ 6, and ≤ 4 months.
Patients and Methods
A total of 1,432 men with nonmetastatic CRPC were randomly assigned 1:1 to monthly subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg or placebo. Enrollment began February 2006; primary analysis cutoff was July 2010, when approximately 660 men were anticipated to have developed bone metastases or died.
In the placebo group, shorter BMFS was observed as PSADT decreased below 8 months. In analyses by shorter baseline PSADT, denosumab consistently increased BMFS by a median of 6.0, 7.2, and 7.5 months among men with PSADT ≤ 10 (HR, 0.84; P = .042), ≤ 6 (HR, 0.77; P = .006), and ≤ 4 months (HR, 0.71; P = .004), respectively. Denosumab also consistently increased time to bone metastasis by PSADT subset. No difference in survival was observed between treatment groups for the overall study population or PSADT subsets.
Patients with shorter PSADT are at greater risk for bone metastasis or death. Denosumab consistently improves BMFS in men with shorter PSADT and seems to have the greatest treatment effects in men at high risk for progression.
PMCID: PMC3795889  PMID: 24043751
3.  Tumour stage on re-staging transurethral resection predicts recurrence and progression-free survival of patients with high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer 
To identify patients who should be considered for early radical cystectomy, we evaluated the clinical and pathological variables affecting the outcome of patients with high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) who underwent re-staging transurethral resection (re-TUR).
We reviewed the clinical data of 453 patients treated for urothelial carcinoma between 2006 and 2010. In total, 94 patients underwent re-TUR after their initial TUR. Of these, 72 were not upstaged to muscle invasive disease and were therefore included in our study.
On re-TUR, 31 patients had no residual tumour (T0) and 41 patients had residual NMIBC. A statistically significant difference was noted between patients with pT0 and patients with residual NMIBC on re-TUR in regard to tumour recurrence and progression (39% vs. 83%, p < 0.001) (6% vs. 34%, p = 0.005), respectively. On multivariate analysis, tumour stage on re-TUR and the regimen of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy (induction vs. maintenance) remained independent predicting factors for recurrence-free survival (RFS) (p = 0.001, hazard ratio [HR]: 1.77), (p < 0.001 HR: 0.16) and progression-free survival (PFS) (p = 0.014, HR: 2.11), (p = 0.008, HR: 0.097), respectively.
The presence of T0 on re-TUR is associated with better RFS and PFS and could be a predictive factor for candidates for conservative management. Patients with persistent NMIBC on re-TUR require close follow-up and, in some cases, could be considered for early cystectomy. Maintenance intravesical BCG therapy can improve RFS and PFS in patients with high-risk NMIBC. This study is limited by its retrospective nature and the relatively small number of patients in the cohort.
PMCID: PMC4039592  PMID: 24940455
4.  Oncological and functional outcomes of 722 robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) cases: The largest Canadian 5-year experience 
While RARP (robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy) has become the predominant surgical approach to treat localized prostate cancer, there is little Canadian data on its oncological and functional outcomes. We describe the largest RARP experience in Canada.
Data from 722 patients who underwent RARP performed by 7 surgeons (AEH performed 288, TH 69, JBL 23, SB 17, HW 15, QT 7, and KCZ 303 patients) were collected prospectively from October 2006 to December 2013. Preoperative characteristics, as well as postoperative surgical and pathological outcomes, were collected. Functional and oncological outcomes were also assessed up to 72 months postoperative.
The median follow-up (Q1–Q3) was 18 months (9–36). The D’Amico risk stratification distribution was 31% low, 58% intermediate and 11% high-risk. The median operative time was 178 minutes (142–205), blood loss was 200 mL (150–300) and the postoperative hospital stay was 1 day (1–23). The transfusion rate was only 1.0%. There were 0.7% major (Clavien III–IV) and 10.1% minor (Clavien I–II) postoperative complications, with no mortality. Pathologically, 445 men (70%) were stage pT2, of which 81 (18%) had a positive surgical margin (PSM). In addition, 189 patients (30%) were stage pT3 and 87 (46%) with PSM. Urinary continence (0-pads/day) returned at 3, 6, and 12 months for 68%, 80%, and 90% of patients, respectively. Overall, the potency rates (successful penetration) for all men at 6, 12, and 24 months were 37%, 52%, and 59%, respectively. Biochemical recurrence was observed in 28 patients (4.9%), and 14 patients (2.4%) were referred for early salvage radiotherapy. In total, 49 patients (8.4%) underwent radio-therapy and/or hormonal therapy.
This study shows similar results compared to other high-volume RARP programs. Being the largest RARP experience in Canada, we report that RARP is safe with acceptable oncologic outcomes in a Canadian setting.
PMCID: PMC4081250  PMID: 25024790
5.  New and Emerging Therapies for Bone Metastases in Genitourinary Cancers 
European urology  2012;63(2):309-320.
Bone metastases are a common feature of advanced genitourinary malignancies and a prominent cause of morbidity and mortality. Clinical manifestations can include pain, hypercalcemia, pathologic fractures, and spinal cord compression. Optimal systemic therapy for the skeletal component of these cancers often features a combination of disease-specific therapy and bone-targeted therapy. Some agents such as the radiopharmaceutical radium-223 blur the line between those two categories. Osteoclast inhibition is a validated strategy in the management of selected patients with bone metastases and can best be accomplished with one of two agents. Zoledronic acid is the most potent available bisphosphonate and is approved for the prevention of skeletal events due to solid tumors metastatic to bone. Denosumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that binds and inactivates receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa-B ligand and is approved for the same indication. Radiopharmaceuticals represent a distinct strategy. Beta-emitters such as strontium-89 and samarium-153 can be effective for the palliation of pain due to bone metastases, but their use is often limited by bone marrow suppression. The alpha-emitting radiopharmaceutical radium-223 has recently been shown to improve overall survival and prevent skeletal events in selected men with castration-resistant prostate cancer metastatic to bone. Multiple ongoing clinical trials are designed to examine the potential for therapeutic inhibition of additional targets such as Src and hepatocyte growth factor (MET). This review discusses the incidence, pathophysiology, and management of bone metastases in the most prevalent genitourinary malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3661203  PMID: 23201471
6.  Randomized Phase 3 Trial of Abiraterone Acetate in Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer and No Prior Chemotherapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;368(2):138-148.
Abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, improves overall survival (OS) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-chemotherapy. Many mCRPC patients never receive chemotherapy and thus cannot benefit from abiraterone acetate; we evaluated this agent in mCRPC patients who had not received chemotherapy.
In this double-blind study, 1088 patients were randomized 1:1 to abiraterone acetate (1000 mg) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone. Co-primary end points were radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) and OS. Secondary end points measured clinically relevant landmarks of mCRPC progression. Patient-reported outcomes included pain progression and quality of life.
The study was unblinded after a planned interim analysis (IA) at 43% of OS events. Treatment with abiraterone acetate-prednisone resulted in a 57% reduction in the risk of radiographic progression or death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.52; P<0.001; 13% OS events IA) and an estimated 25% decrease in the risk of death (HR, 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93; P=0.009; 43% OS events IA). Secondary end points supported superiority of abiraterone acetate-prednisone: time to cytotoxic chemotherapy initiation, opiate use for cancer-related pain, prostate-specific antigen progression (all P<0.001) and performance status deterioration (P=0.005). Self-reported time to pain progression and patient functional status degradation favored abiraterone acetate-prednisone (P=0.05 and P=0.003). Grade 3/4 mineralocorticoid-related adverse events and liver function test abnormalities were more common with abiraterone acetate-prednisone.
Abiraterone acetate produces OS and rPFS benefits, as well as significant delays in clinical deterioration and initiation of chemotherapy, in mCRPC.
PMCID: PMC3683570  PMID: 23228172
Abiraterone acetate; prednisone; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; androgen; CYP17
7.  Regional differences in practice patterns and outcomes in patients treated with radical cystectomy in a universal healthcare system 
Canadian Urological Association Journal  2013;7(11-12):E667-E672.
Our objective is to assess differences in practice patterns and outcomes across 3 regions in bladder cancer patients treated with radical cystectomy under a universal healthcare system.
In total, we included 2287 patients treated with radical cystectomy at 8 Canadian centres from 1998 to 2008. Variables included various clinico-pathologic parameters, recurrence, and death stratified into different regions.
In total, 1105 patients were from the east region (group 1), 601 from the centre region (group 2), and 581 from the west region of Canada (group 3). The median follow-up of groups 1, 2, and 3 was 22.1, 17.1, and 28.6 months, respectively. Although the overall rate of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was low (3.1%), rates were higher in group 2 compared with groups 1 and 3 (p = 0.07). Continent diversions and extended lymphadenectomy were performed in 23.5%, 8.5%, 23.9% and 39.7%, 27.7%, 12.6% across groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. There were statistically significant differences in gender distribution, performance of lymphadenectomy, presence of concomitant carcinoma in situ and lymphovascular invasion across the 3 groups. There were no differences among the 3 geographical locations in terms of stage, surgical margin status, and use of adjuvant chemotherapy. The mean number of days from the transurethral resection of the bladder tumour to cystectomy was 50, 79, 69 days for groups 1, 2, 3, respectively (p = 0.0006). The 5-year overall survival was 53.6%, 66.8%, and 52.4% for groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively (p < 0.0001).
Significant variations in practice patterns were noted across different geographic regions in a universal healthcare system. Use of continent diversions, extended lymphadenectomy, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy remains low across all 3 regions. Treatment delays are significant.
PMCID: PMC3840506  PMID: 24282454
8.  Bone-targeted therapy in prostate cancer 
EJC Supplements  2013;11(2):257-259.
PMCID: PMC4041557
9.  Strategies for Biochemical and Pathologic Quality Assurance in a Large Multi-Institutional Biorepository; The Experience of the PROCURE Quebec Prostate Cancer Biobank 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2013;11(5):285-290.
Well-characterized, high-quality fresh-frozen prostate tissue is required for prostate cancer research. As part of the PROCURE Prostate Cancer Biobank launched in 2007, four University Hospitals in Quebec joined to bank fresh frozen prostate tissues from radical prostatectomies (RP). As the biobank progressed towards allocation, the nature and quality of the tissues were determined. RP tissues were collected by standardized alternate mirror-image or biopsy-based targeted methods, and frozen for banking. Clinical/pathological parameters were captured. For quality control, two presumed benign and two presumed cancerous frozen, biobanked tissue blocks per case (10/site) were randomly selected during the five years of collection. In a consensus meeting, 4 pathologists blindly evaluated slides (n=160) and graded quality, Gleason score (GS), and size of cancer foci. The quality of tissue RNA (37/40 cases) was assessed using the RNA Integrity Number. The biobank included 1819 patients of mean age: 62.1 years; serum PSA: 8ng/ml; prostate weight: 47.8 g; GS: 7; and pathological stage: T2 in 64.5%, T3A in 25.5% and T3B in 10% of cases. Of the 157 evaluable slides, 79 and 78 had benign and cancer tissue, respectively. GS for the 37 cancer-positive cases were: 6 in 9, 7 in 18 and >7 in 10 and, in most instances, in concordance with final GS. In 40% of slides containing cancer, foci occupied ≥50% of block surface and 42% had a diameter ≥1 cm. Tissue was well preserved and consistently yielded RNA of very good quality with RNA Integrity Number (RIN) >7 for 97% of cases (mean=8.7±0.7) during the five-year collection period. This study confirms the high quality of randomly selected benign and cancerous fresh-frozen prostate tissues of the PROCURE Quebec Prostate Cancer Biobank. These results strengthen the uniqueness of this large prospective resource for prostate cancer research.
PMCID: PMC3809609  PMID: 24194978
10.  Sarcopenia During Androgen-Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(26):3271-3276.
To characterize changes in lean body mass (LBM) in men with prostate cancer receiving androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT).
Patients and Methods
We prospectively evaluated LBM in a prespecified substudy of a randomized controlled trial of denosumab to prevent fractures in men receiving ADT for nonmetastatic prostate cancer. LBM was measured by total-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at study baseline and at 12, 24, and 36 months. The analyses included 252 patients (132, denosumab; 120, placebo) with a baseline and at least one on-study LBM assessment. Patients were stratified by age (< 70 v ≥ 70 years) and by ADT duration (≤ 6 v > 6 months).
Median ADT duration was 20.4 months at study baseline. Mean LBM decreased significantly from baseline, by 1.0% at month 12 (95% CI, 0.4% to 1.5%; P < .001; n = 248), by 2.1% at month 24 (95% CI, 1.5% to 2.7%; P < .001; n = 205), and by 2.4% at month 36 (95% CI, 1.6% to 3.2%; P < .001; n = 168). Men age ≥ 70 years (n = 127) had significantly greater changes in LBM at all measured time points than younger men. At 36 months, LBM decreased by 2.8% in men age ≥ 70 years and by 0.9% in younger men (P = .035). Men with ≤ 6 months of ADT at study entry (n = 36) had a greater rate of decrease in LBM compared with men who had received more than 6 months of ADT at study entry (3.7% v 2.0%; P = .0645).
In men receiving ADT, LBM decreased significantly after 12, 24, and 36 months.
PMCID: PMC3434987  PMID: 22649143
11.  Responder Analysis of the Effects of Denosumab on Bone Mineral Density in Men Receiving Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer 
Men with prostate cancer are at risk of experiencing accelerated bone loss and fractures as a result of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).
We evaluated the effects of denosumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody against RANKL, on preservation of BMD at 3 key skeletal sites (lumbar spine [LS], femoral neck [FN], and total hip [TH]) and the distal radius at 36 months both by responder category and individual responses in a waterfall plot analysis.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This phase 3, randomized, double-blind study of men with non-metastatic prostate cancer receiving ADT investigated the effects of denosumab on bone mineral density (BMD) and fractures. Patients were treated for 36 months.
Subcutaneous denosumab 60 mg (n=734) or placebo (n=734) every 6 months for up to 36 months. Patients were instructed to take supplemental Calcium and vitamin D.
Primary outcome measure: The percentage change from baseline to month 36 in LS, FN, and TH BMD was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. BMD at the distal 1/3 radius at 36 months was measured in a sub-study of 309 patients.
Results and Limitations
At 36 months, significantly more patients in the denosumab arm had increases of >3% BMD from baseline at each site studied compared with placebo (LS, 78% vs 17%; TH, 48% vs 6%; FN, 48% vs 13%; distal 1/3 radius, 40% vs 7%). The percentage of denosumab patients with bone loss at all 3 key BMD sites at month 36 was 1%, as opposed to 42% in placebo arm. At 36 months 69% of denosumab-treated patients had BMD increases at all three sites (LS, TH or FN) compared with 8% of placebo-treated patients. Lower baseline BMD was associated with higher magnitude lumbar spine, femoral neck, and total hip BMD responses to denosumab.
In men with prostate cancer receiving ADT significantly higher BMD response rates were observed with denosumab vs. placebo.
Trial Registration
This study is registered with with the identifier NCT00089674.
PMCID: PMC3671885  PMID: 22641239
androgen deprivation; bone mineral density; bone loss; antiresorptive therapy; responder analysis
12.  Evidence for the efficacy of enzalutamide in postchemotherapy metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer 
Therapeutic Advances in Urology  2013;5(4):201-210.
The treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) has evolved rapidly with the recent approval of a number of treatments and agents, including docetaxel, sipuleucel T, abiraterone, cabazitaxel, and enzalutamide. Enzalutamide (previously MDV-3100) is a novel oral androgen receptor inhibitor that targets multiple steps in the androgen receptor signaling pathway. The randomized phase III AFFIRM study demonstrated significant improvements in a number of efficacy endpoints, including the primary endpoint of overall survival and secondary endpoints of progression-free survival, and time to prostate-specific antigen progression in patients with progressive mCRPC who had received prior treatment with docetaxel. Enzalutamide was well tolerated and there were comparable incidences of grade 3 or greater adverse events reported for the enzalutamide and placebo control arms in AFFIRM. Unlike some other treatments for mCRPC, enzalutamide does not require administration with steroids. The ongoing randomized phase III PREVAIL trial will investigate the efficacy and safety of enzalutamide in chemotherapy-naïve patients with mCRPC. Additional trials are investigating the use of enzalutamide in a number of disease settings.
PMCID: PMC3721441  PMID: 23904859
AFFIRM trial; enzalutamide; metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer; PREVAIL trial
13.  Reduction in serum clusterin is a potential therapeutic biomarker in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer treated with custirsen 
Cancer Medicine  2013;2(4):468-477.
Elevated levels of clusterin (CLU), a stress-induced and secreted cytoprotective chaperone, are associated with advanced tumor stage, metastasis, treatment resistance, and adverse outcome in several cancers. Custirsen, a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide, inhibits CLU production in tumor cells and reduces serum CLU levels. A Phase 2 study evaluated custirsen in combination with second-line chemotherapy in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who had progressed while on or within 6 months of first-line docetaxel-based chemotherapy. Exploratory analyses evaluated serum CLU levels during custirsen treatment and correlative clinical effects on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response, overall survival, and any relationship between serum CLU and PSA. Men with mCRPC were treated with mitoxantrone/prednisone/custirsen (MPC, n = 22) or docetaxel retreatment/prednisone/custirsen (DPC plus DPC-Assigned, n = 45) in an open-label, multicenter study. Subject-specific profiles of PSA and serum CLU levels during treatment were characterized using statistical modeling to compute subject-specific summary measures; these measures were analyzed for relationship to survival using proportional hazard regression. Estimated individual serum CLU response profiles were scored as below or at/above the median level for the population through 100 days postrandomization. Median survival was longer for subjects scoring below the median serum CLU level compared with subjects at/above the median level, respectively (MPC: 15.1 months vs. 6.2 months; DPC-Pooled: 17.0 months vs. 12.1 months). Lowered serum CLU levels during custirsen treatment when in combination with either chemotherapy regimen were predictive of longer survival in mCRPC. These results support further evaluation of serum CLU as a therapeutic biomarker.
Aside from PSA, there are currently no other prognostic or predictive biomarkers that can be used to guide treatment response in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). In a Phase 2 study, men with mCRPC were treated with prednisone and custirsen plus either mitoxantrone or docetaxel retreatment. Statistical modeling was used to compute subject-specific summary measures of PSA and serum clusterin levels at baseline and at Day 100 of treatment, followed by a regression analysis to evaluate relationship to overall survival. In this analysis, reduced serum clusterin levels during treatment were predictive of longer survival. These results currently support further evaluation of serum clusterin as a therapeutic biomarker in three ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3799281  PMID: 24156019
Antisense oligonucleotide; chemotherapy; clusterin; custirsen; mCRPC
15.  Denosumab and Bone Metastasis-Free Survival in Men With Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Results of a Global Phase 3, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
Lancet  2011;379(9810):39-46.
Bone metastases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in men with prostate cancer. Preclinical studies suggest that osteoclast inhibition may prevent bone metastases. This phase 3 study evaluated denosumab, a fully human anti-RANKL monoclonal antibody, to prevent bone metastasis or death from any cause in men with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Men with non-metastatic CRPC at high risk for bone metastasis (PSA ≥8.0 ng/mL and/or PSA doubling time ≤10.0 months) were enrolled in 319 centers from 30 countries. Patients were randomised 1:1 in blinded fashion using an interactive voice response system to receive monthly subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg or placebo. The primary endpoint was bone metastasis-free survival, a composite endpoint determined by time to first occurrence of bone metastasis (symptomatic or asymptomatic) or death.
1432 patients were randomised, 716 to receive denosumab and 716 to receive placebo. Denosumab significantly increased bone metastasis-free survival by a median of 4.2 months over placebo (hazard ratio 0.85 [0.73–0.98]; P=0.028). Denosumab also significantly delayed time to first bone metastasis (hazard ratio 0.84 [0.71–0.98]; P=0.032). Overall survival was similar between groups (hazard ratio 1.01 [0.85–1.20]; P=0.91). Rates of adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs were generally similar between groups, except for osteonecrosis of jaw (ONJ) and hypocalcemia. Yearly cumulative incidence of ONJ for denosumab was: 1%, 3%, 4% in years 1, 2, 3, respectively; overall, less than 5% (n=33). Hypocalcemia occurred in under 2% (n=12) of denosumab and under 1% (n=2) of placebo patients. The blinded treatment phase has been completed.
In men with CRPC, denosumab significantly prolonged bone metastasis-free survival and delayed time to bone metastasis. This is the first large randomised study to demonstrate that targeting the bone microenvironment prevents bone metastasis in men with prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3671878  PMID: 22093187
urology/prostate disease; denosumab; prostate cancer; prevention; bone metastasis; survival; hormone refractory; castration-resistant
16.  Prognostic Role of Serum Parathyroid Hormone Levels in Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients Undergoing Zoledronic Acid Administration 
The Oncologist  2012;17(5):645-652.
The prognostic role, in terms of the overall survival outcome, of serum parathyroid hormone evaluated at baseline and after 3 months of zoledronic acid or placebo treatment in hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients with bone metastases enrolled in a randomized clinical trial was assessed.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism is frequent in prostate cancer patients with bone metastases, and this condition is worsened by the administration of potent bisphosphonates. Serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) elevation can impair the efficacy of these drugs in terms of survival.
The prognostic role of elevated serum PTH levels at baseline and after 3 months of zoledronic acid administration was assessed prospectively in 643 bone metastatic prostate cancer patients enrolled in a prospective randomized, placebo-controlled study.
On multivariate analysis, after adjusting for major prognostic factors and bone turnover markers, elevated baseline serum PTH level was negatively associated with overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.448; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.045–2.006; p < .03) in zoledronic acid–treated patients but not in placebo-treated patients. In patients with normal baseline PTH levels, there was a trend but insignificant association between zoledronic acid administration and a better survival outcome than with placebo (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.65–1.01; p = .065), whereas a trend in the opposite direction was observed in patients with elevated PTH levels (HR, 1.45; 95% CI, 0.87–2.39; p = .151); interaction test, p = .040. Elevated serum PTH level after 3 months of zoledronic acid treatment was not significantly associated with survival outcome.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism has a negative prognostic impact in metastatic prostate cancer patients undergoing zoledronic acid administration. Counteracting elevated PTH levels by adequate doses of vitamin D may improve the efficacy of this drug.
PMCID: PMC3360904  PMID: 22523198
Bone metastasis; Parathyroid hormone; Prostate cancer; Zoledronic acid
17.  Intermittent Androgen Suppression for Rising PSA Level after Radiotherapy 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(10):895-903.
Intermittent androgen deprivation for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) elevation after radiotherapy may improve quality of life and delay hormone resistance. We assessed overall survival with intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation in a noninferiority randomized trial.
We enrolled patients with a PSA level greater than 3 ng per milliliter more than 1 year after primary or salvage radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. Intermittent treatment was provided in 8-month cycles, with nontreatment periods determined according to the PSA level. The primary end point was overall survival. Secondary end points included quality of life, time to castration-resistant disease, and duration of nontreatment intervals.
Of 1386 enrolled patients, 690 were randomly assigned to intermittent therapy and 696 to continuous therapy. Median follow-up was 6.9 years. There were no significant between-group differences in adverse events. In the intermittent-therapy group, full testosterone recovery occurred in 35% of patients, and testosterone recovery to the trial-entry threshold occurred in 79%. Intermittent therapy provided potential benefits with respect to physical function, fatigue, urinary problems, hot flashes, libido, and erectile function. There were 268 deaths in the intermittent-therapy group and 256 in the continuous-therapy group. Median overall survival was 8.8 years in the intermittent-therapy group versus 9.1 years in the continuous-therapy group (hazard ratio for death, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.21). The estimated 7-year cumulative rates of disease-related death were 18% and 15% in the two groups, respectively (P = 0.24).
Intermittent androgen deprivation was noninferior to continuous therapy with respect to overall survival. Some quality-of-life factors improved with intermittent therapy. (Funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and others; number, NCT00003653.)
PMCID: PMC3521033  PMID: 22931259
18.  Chemotherapy for prostate cancer: Clinical practice in Canada 
Canadian Urological Association Journal  2013;7(2 Suppl 1):S5-S10.
Whereas prostate cancer was once deemed unresponsive to chemotherapy, there is now evidence that patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer can obtain a survival benefit from both first-line (docetaxel-based) and second-line (cabazitaxel-based) chemotherapy. The side effects of these agents have been shown to be predictable and manageable, particularly in North American centres. However, patient selection remains a key issue, with the aim of delivering each line of treatment at a time when the individual patient remains fit and well enough to tolerate a cytotoxic regimen. Hence, it is increasingly important for urologists and oncologists to work together to ensure timely consideration of the chemotherapeutic approach before it is precluded by a decline in performance status.
PMCID: PMC3652211  PMID: 23682304
19.  Optimal management of patients receiving cabazitaxel-based chemotherapy 
Canadian Urological Association Journal  2013;7(2 Suppl 1):S18-S24.
The emergence of chemotherapy as a survival-improving treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer has focused attention on the need for effective prevention and management of side effects. The most recent chemotherapeutic agent in this setting is cabazitaxel, licensed for use when the disease progresses on or after docetaxel-based treatment. Experience with cabazitaxel shows that, as with docetaxel, its side effects are largely predictable and manageable using methods that are already well-known to oncology teams. Patient education, clear instructions for when and how patients should seek advice, and properly implemented local policies on side effect management are essential to optimal patient care.
PMCID: PMC3652212  PMID: 23682302
21.  Denosumab and Changes in Bone Turnover Markers During Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer 
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer increases fracture risk, decreases bone mineral density, and increases bone turnover markers (BTMs) including serum type 1 C-telopeptide (sCTX), tartrate-resistant alkaline phosphatase 5b (TRAP-5b), and procollagen-1 N-terminal telopeptide (P1NP). In a pre-specified exploratory analysis of a phase 3, multicenter, double-blind study, we evaluated the effects of denosumab (60 mg subcutaneously every 6 months for 3 years) vs. placebo (1468 patients, 734 in each group) on BTM values. BTMs were measured at baseline, month 1, and pre-dose at months 6, 12, 24, and 36 in the overall population. BTMs at month 1 are also reported for subgroups based on age (<70 years vs. ≥ 70 years), prior duration of ADT (≤6 months vs. >6 months), and baseline BTM (≤ median vs. >median BTM values). Treatment with denosumab provided a rapid and sustained decrease of BTM values compared with placebo. The median change in sCTX levels at month 1 was −90% in the denosumab group and −3% in the placebo group (p <.0001). The median change in TRAP-5b levels at month 1 was −55% in the denosumab group and −3% in the placebo group (p <.0001). The maximal median change in P1NP was −64% in the denosumab group and −11% in the placebo group, (p <.0001). Significantly greater decreases in BTM for denosumab were also seen in subgroup analyses based on age, prior ADT treatment, and baseline BTM values. Suppression of bone turnover markers was consistent with marked increases in bone mineral density reported previously.
PMCID: PMC3222788  PMID: 21898590
(5) denosumab; androgen deprivation therapy; bone turnover markers; prostate cancer
22.  Regional differences in practice patterns and associated outcomes for upper tract urothelial carcinoma in Canada 
We delineated Canadian regional differences in practice patterns in the management of upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) after nephroureterectomy and relate these to patient outcomes.
A database was created with 1029 patients undergoing radical nephroureterectomy for UTUC between 1994 and 2009 at 10 Canadian centres. Demographic, clinical and pathological variables were collected from chart review. Practice pattern variables were defined as: open versus laparoscopic nephroureterectomy, management strategy for the distal ureter, performance of lymphadenectomy and administration of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The outcome measures were overall (OS), disease-specific (DSS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). The centres were divided into three regions (West, Central, East). Cox proportional multivariable linear regression analysis was used to determine the association between regional differences in practice patterns and clinical outcomes.
There was a significant difference in practice patterns between regions within Canada for: time from diagnosis to surgery (p = 0.001), type of surgery (open vs. laparoscopic, p < 0.01) and method of management of the distal ureter (p = 0.001). As well, there were significant differences in survival between regions across Canada: 5-year OS (West 70%, Central 81% and East 62%, p < 0.0001) and DSS (West=79%, Central=85%, East=75%, p = 0.007) were significantly different, but there was no difference in RFS (West 47%, Central 48%, East 46%, p = 0.88). Multivariable linear regression analysis demonstrated that the differences in survival were independent of region OS (p = 0.78), DSS (p = 0.30) or RFS (p = 0.43).
There is significant disparity in practice patterns between regions within Canada, but these do not appear to have an effect on survival. We believe that the variability in practice is a reflection of the lack of standardized treatments for UTUC and underlines the need for multi-institutional studies in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3526631  PMID: 23282664
23.  Management of skeletal-related events in patients with advanced prostate cancer and bone metastases: Incorporating new agents into clinical practice 
Skeletal-related events (SREs) are a common complication of bone metastases, and have serious negative consequences for patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). SREs can lead to severe pain, increased risk of death, increased health care costs and reduced quality of life. Until recently, zoledronic acid has been the sole standard of care for the prevention of SREs in men with CRPC with bone metastases. Denosumab, a receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANK-L) inhibitor, has been recently approved for use in Canada for this indication, thus presenting another option for these patients. Denosumab was shown to be superior to zoledronic acid in delaying the time to first or subsequent SREs in CRPC patients with bone metastases. This review discusses current and previous trials examining agents designed to prevent SREs in men with CRPC and bone metastases. It also discusses the practical aspects of administering a bone-targeted therapy, including choosing a bone-targeted therapy, monitoring at the onset and during therapy, switching from one therapy to another, and assessing potential complications.
PMCID: PMC3526633  PMID: 23282666
24.  Abiraterone and Increased Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer 
The New England journal of medicine  2011;364(21):1995-2005.
Biosynthesis of extragonadal androgen may contribute to the progression of castration-resistant prostate cancer. We evaluated whether abiraterone acetate, an inhibitor of androgen biosynthesis, prolongs overall survival among patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who have received chemotherapy.
We randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, 1195 patients who had previously received docetaxel to receive 5 mg of prednisone twice daily with either 1000 mg of abiraterone acetate (797 patients) or placebo (398 patients). The primary end point was overall survival. The secondary end points included time to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) progression (elevation in the PSA level according to prespecified criteria), progression-free survival according to radiologic findings based on prespecified criteria, and the PSA response rate.
After a median follow-up of 12.8 months, overall survival was longer in the abiraterone acetate–prednisone group than in the placebo–prednisone group (14.8 months vs. 10.9 months; hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.54 to 0.77; P<0.001). Data were unblinded at the interim analysis, since these results exceeded the preplanned criteria for study termination. All secondary end points, including time to PSA progression (10.2 vs. 6.6 months; P<0.001), progression-free survival (5.6 months vs. 3.6 months; P<0.001), and PSA response rate (29% vs. 6%, P<0.001), favored the treatment group. Mineralocorticoid-related adverse events, including fluid retention, hypertension, and hypokalemia, were more frequently reported in the abiraterone acetate–prednisone group than in the placebo–prednisone group.
The inhibition of androgen biosynthesis by abiraterone acetate prolonged overall survival among patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who previously received chemotherapy. (Funded by Cougar Biotechnology; COU-AA-301 number, NCT00638690.)
PMCID: PMC3471149  PMID: 21612468
25.  Biochemical markers of bone turnover and clinical outcomes in men with prostate cancer☆ 
Urologic Oncology  2010;30(4):369-378.
Disrupted skeletal homeostasis is common in patients with prostate cancer. Low bone density is common at diagnosis, and fracture risk is further elevated by the effects of androgen-deprivation therapy. Later in the disease course, bone metastases can result in skeletal morbidity. Although prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels can provide important insights into overall disease progression, convenient, noninvasive tools for monitoring skeletal health are lacking. Biochemical markers released into serum and urine as a result of bone turnover might fulfill this unmet need. The objectives of this article are to assess current evidence examining the potential utility of bone turnover markers for monitoring skeletal health. bone disease progression, and response to antiresorptive therapies in the prostate cancer setting.
Published articles and abstracts from major oncology or urology congresses pertaining to the use of bone turnover markers to monitor skeletal health and disease progression were identified and assessed for relevance and methodologic stringency.
Several randomized trials and correlative studies support the utility of bone marker level changes to assess disease progression in the metastatic setting, bone health during hormonal therapy, and response to bisphosphonate therapy. The available data support potential associations between levels of the collagen type I telopeptides (NTX and CTX) and the severity of metastatic bone disease as well as outcomes during antiresorptive therapy. Evidence linking bone marker level changes with early diagnosis of skeletal metastases is emerging. Although several markers have shown promising results in correlative studies, results from ongoing prospective trials are needed to establish the role of bone markers in this setting.
Bone marker levels reflect ongoing skeletal metabolism and can provide important insights into bone health and response to bisphosphonate therapy in patients with prostate cancer. The data supporting a role for bone markers to monitor skeletal disease progression and response to zoledronic acid therapy are especially strong. Bone marker assessments may complement established diagnostic and monitoring paradigms in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3107360  PMID: 21163673
Bisphosphonate; Bone loss; Bone metastases; Bone mineral density; Bone turnover markers; Prostate cancer

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