Cabazitaxel is a medication a doctor may recommend for the treatment of prostate cancer in patients with hormone-refractory forms of the condition, those which no longer respond to hormone therapy. This drug is also known by the trade name Jevtana® and is typically available by injection. Patients with prostate cancer typically need to meet with their physicians to discuss the course of therapy and all available options, which may change over time as the patient undergoes treatment. This medication may become an option when a cancer stops responding to treatment, or when it appears likely to resist treatment at the time of diagnosis.
Doctors usually prescribe cabazitaxel as part of a combination regimen with prednisone, a steroid medication. It suppresses tumor growth and prevents the metastasis of prostate cancer, in addition to keeping patients more comfortable. The precise dosage depends on the cancer and the preferences of the oncologist. Patients may need to receive infusions in a clinical setting to allow nurses to monitor them for signs of side effects.
The most common cabazitaxel side effect is neutropenia, a low white blood cell count. This can expose patients to the risk of infection because their immune systems are depressed. The doctor may recommend taking prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infections, especially if a patient engages in activities known to pose a risk, like getting dental procedures. Patients also need to be careful around sick people, as they could pick up microorganisms and might not be able to fight them off because of their declining immune systems.
Many patients also report adverse gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Some medications may help manage these and keep a patient more comfortable. Headaches and fatigue can also occur while on cabazitaxel. Some patients experience kidney damage, and a doctor may want to take periodic blood and urine samples to check on kidney function. The medication is also associated with increased sensitivity and can potentially increase the severity of allergies.
Patients with prostate cancer can discuss the risks and benefits of many different treatment options. Management of cancer is constantly evolving in response to new clinical trials and information from ongoing patient care. Patients may want to consult several doctors to get a second opinion on their options. If a doctor recommends cabazitaxel, patients can ask why and may want to get information about alternatives and the likely outcome with various treatment options.