Effect of Darbepoetin Alfa (Aranesp®) on Anemia in Patients With Advanced Hormone Independent Prostate Cancer

A Randomized, Multi-center Study to Assess the Effect of Darbepoetin Alfa (Aranesp®) for the Treatment of Anemia in Patients With Advanced Hormone Independent Prostate Cancer and Anaemia


Lead Sponsor: University of Aarhus

Collaborator: Amgen

Source University of Aarhus
Brief Summary

The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not Aranesp® (Darbepoetin Alfa), administered every fourth week, is effective in the treatment of blood shortage (anemia) compared to standard care of treatment (blood transfusions) in patients with anemia due to hormone refractory prostate cancer.

Detailed Description

In the past, prostate cancer has been regarded a relatively benign disease, which elderly men were expected to die with rather than from, however, prostate cancer has become the second most common non-skin cancer in Danish men and the second most common cause of male cancer death. Two out of three patients with clinically significant prostate cancer die from and not with their cancer disease, and the misery of this population is evident. Regular treatments with opiates or equivalent drugs as well are required in nearly one third of the patients.

Patients with advanced hormone insensitive (refractory) prostate cancer have a median survival rate of about one year and during this time they often suffer from anemia due to reasons like blood loss, tumor infiltration of the bone marrow and even treatment with androgen deprivation. Compared to patients with other cancer types patients with prostate cancer have a significantly lower mean haemoglobin level. However, patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer have not previously been given much attention and the treatment of the frequent condition of chronic anemia in this group of patients seems casual. Therefore, Best Standard of Care (BSC) is defined as RBC transfusion if the hemoglobin is < 5,0 mmol/L (8,0 g/dl), and if there are signs or symptoms of anemia and supplemental iron if se-ferritin < 200 mcg/L.

Very little is known about erythropoietin treatment and quality of life in hormone refractory prostate cancer patients. A randomized Swedish study did investigate the influence of two different doses of epoetin beta on quality of life, hemoglobin level, need for red blood cell transfusion and safety, in the treatment of anemia in 180 patients suffering from advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer. This study found the treatment to be safe and effective for the treatment in many of these patients. In many of these critically ill patients, the treatment improved quality of life and relieved fatigue symptoms.

Darbepoetin alpha (Aranesp®) is produced by gene-technology in Chinese Hamster Cells (CHO-K1). It has a biological effect and toxicity profile comparable to r-HuEPO; with the exception of a longer half-life which means that it can be administered less frequently without loosing clinical efficiency. Aranesp® has been well tolerated in studies conducted to this date. In this setting Aranesp® appears to be safe and well tolerated. Adverse events reported to date have generally been mild to moderate in severity and consistent with events and symptoms in cancer patients with chronic disease receiving chemotherapy (i.e. fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms). Clinical studies have shown a higher frequency of thromboembolic reactions including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in cancer patients receiving Aranesp therapy compared to patients receiving placebo. The clinical experience so far with Aranesp® has been published (15,16,17). Aranesp® is registered for clinical use in Europe and US.

Based on this the present study will evaluate the effect of Aranesp® on the haematopoietic response in patients with advanced hormone independent prostate cancer and anemia. Moreover, the effect of Aranesp® on quality of life, hemoglobin, necessity for RBC transfusion and hospital admissions, will be evaluated. The study will be performed as an open randomized trial. The use of r-HuEPO in cancer patients has been established and registered in other settings (as supportive treatment), and it has been shown that the preparation can be given without significant side effects. On the contrary, it is likely that patients may benefit from additional improvement in wellbeing.

Overall Status Terminated
Start Date October 2006
Completion Date February 2007
Primary Completion Date February 2007
Phase Phase 2/Phase 3
Study Type Interventional
Primary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
The haematopoietic response at week 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20
Secondary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Quality of Life (EQ-5D and QLQ-C30) at week 8 and 20
Number of blood transfusions at week 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20
Change in haemoglobin at week 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20
Number of days admitted to hospital during the 20 week study period
Enrollment 140

Intervention Type: Drug

Intervention Name: Darbepoetin Alfa



Inclusion Criteria:

- Male > 18 years

- Histologically proven prostate cell carcinoma

- Progression in PSA (10% elevation of nadir-value documented by two tests) at least 4 months after surgical orchiectomy or initiation of LHRH-agonist. Testosterone level must be below castration level

- All PSA values must be > 5 ng/ml

- Haemoglobin level below 11 g/dl (6.8 mmol/l)

- Haemoglobin level tested no later than 14 days prior to randomization

- A life expectancy of more than 3 months

- Participants must sign Informed consent according to local and national regulations and European Clinical Trial Directive

Exclusion Criteria:

- Known primary haematological disorder, which could cause anaemia

- Hypertension (diastolic blood pressure > 100 mmHg), refractory to treatment

- Symptomatic cardiovascular disease

- History of thromboembolic events during the last 12 months

- Concomitant Chemotherapy

- Active and severe liver disease

- Clinical significant inflammatory disease

- Concomitant or previous malignancies, which are likely to influence the treatment, evaluation and outcome of the current disease and therapy

- Concern of subject's compliance with the protocol procedures

- Previously included into the study

- Received erythropoietic therapy within 4 weeks before inclusion into the study

- Known positive antibody reaction to any erythropoietic agent

Gender: Male

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Healthy Volunteers: No

Overall Official
Last Name Role Affiliation
Michael Borre, MD, PhD Principal Investigator Department of Urology, Aarhus University Hospital
Facility: Department of Urology, Aarhus University Hospital
Location Countries


Verification Date

February 2008

Responsible Party

Type: Sponsor

Has Expanded Access No
Condition Browse
Study Design Info

Allocation: Randomized

Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment

Primary Purpose: Supportive Care

Masking: None (Open Label)

Source: ClinicalTrials.gov