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It's back! Prostvac Trial too risky for me.

Guest ColReesRC30

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Guest ColReesRC30

 Month and year of diagnosis. 

December 2009


Age at diagnosis. 

67 years


PSA at diagnosis. 



Gleason score at diagnosis. (from biopsy) 



Biopsy details.  

18/18 (100%)


Bone scan result at diagnosis. 



Lymph nodes at diagnosis. 

CT scan showed 2 iliac lymph nodes angry.


Capsular penetration (growth through prostate wall). 

extracapsular reach identified.


Highest PSA before treatment. 



Initial treatment - surgery. 



Initial treatment - radiation. 

External beam radiation therapy (78 Gy) using IMRT and gold seed fiducial markers. During the radiation period I had an MRI to examine the iliac lymph nodes which were found to have calmed right down.


Initial treatment - hormone therapy. 

Androcur (2 weewks) then to Zoladex 11.8 (3 monthly) implants - continuous to this day.


Initial treatment - other. 

Zometa (Bisphosphonate) treatment for bone protection was commenced - abandoned after three infusions to allow me to transfer to Denosumab drug trial for 12 months.


Lowest PSA after initial treatment. 

less than 0.03


Month and year of recurrence. 

October 2012


PSA at recurrence. 



Current treatment status. 

Initial monitoring


Last few PSA scores with dates. 

PSA on7.11.12 was 3.6. Concern developed at rapid doubling rate and I was placed on Anandron (Nilutamide) and Xgeva (Denosumab). PSA on 23.1.13 was 4.0 - rate of increase reduced and monitoring of current treatment instituted.


Final paragraphs 

PSA on 12.6.13 after return from caravan trip was 9.00. Nilutamide abandoned.


Multidisciplinary Team at PAH suggested participation in Prostvac Trial, but required evidence of metastases first. Medical Oncologist concurred.


PSA on 3.7.13 was 12.0

PSA on 1.8.123 was 20.9


Catscan at this time revealed two positive lymph nodes leading to provisional acceptance for Prostvac Trial.


Formal trial membership procedures commenced. A hitch occurred when I was unable to confirm that I had been vaccinated for smallpox as this is a precondition for trial membership ( the Prostvac vaccine is delivered using a carrier of a large dose of smallpox vaccine.). Later resolved.


Meanwhile on 30.8.13 PSA had risen to 75.2, on 4.9.13 to 86 and on 11.9.13 to 100.


On the basis that my case was too risky to allow the possibility of my receiving the placebo instead of the true vaccine, I was declined membership of the trial on 9.9.13.


Hence Plan B has been enacted, and yesterday 11.9.13 I commenced chemo with Taxotere.


A comment in that regard: Dexmethsone (a powerful cortico steroid) given before, during and after treatment makes you feel 25 again. They tell me there is a pretty big drop off the other side though. (Later - Was able to confirm that this was so - in spades).


Had 4 cycles of chemo (taxotere), and when due for fifth, PSA test showed rise (Actual readings - On commencement, 100 - End September 2013, 141 - End October 114 - End November 140). Oncologist concluded taxotere had failed and abandoned it. Substituted Abiraterone which commenced 5.12.13. PSA as at 23.12.13 was 58.5 - a dramatic improvement. Scans have shown lesions in spine, ribs and sacrum, but there is no pain whatsoever to date.


Wonderful for the spirits, and some justification for the $3,600 p.m. cost to Joe Hockey.


SUMMARY It's a great shame to have missed out on the Prostvac Trial as it was offering hope of a cure rather than just extension of life.


Col Rees


Date updated. 

31 December 2013

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Guest Patrick Coughlan

Thanks for your story. Since I am about to commence chemo it is so helpful, mentally if not practically, to get a share of others' experiences. During my interview with  oncologist a few days ago I was briefly considered for a trial but his tapping revealed that my existing leisons made me ineligible. So it was on with the chemo on 24 Sept. The sharing of journeys is really supportive. My PSA went in a month from 14 to 38 - that is what has precipitated entry on the chemo journey. On with the positive attitude! Patrick Coughlan, Northern Rivers PC Support Group

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Stick in Buddie there might be something round the corner, you certainly get looked after in Aussie.Much more than we get looked after in NZ. 

All the best Mate

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Hi Mike In New Zealand here again.


I got very ill yesterday.


My wife and i had to my doc and she put me back on my Dexamethason.

I have had Brain Cancer.


I had Radiation and the Dexamethasone was running it down.

My wife also thought we were running it down.

The doc and oncologist thought we were running ti down,


But we seem to have it running again today.


Hope you are all okay.

Kind Regards

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Sorry to hear of your new troubles.


I see on Wikipedia that Dexamethasone will reduce swelling the brain.

Hopefully this will give you relief again.


Hang in there mate.



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