Although docetaxel is not recommended when managing men with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer (PC) given negative or inconclusive results from previous randomized trials, unstudied benefits may exist.


Between September 21, 2005, and January 13, 2015, we randomly assigned 350 men 1:1 with T1c-4N0M0 unfavorable-risk PC to receive radiation therapy (RT) and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) plus docetaxel (60 mg/m2 once every 3 weeks for three cycles before RT and 20 mg/m2 once weekly during RT) versus ADT + RT. We evaluated the treatment effect of adding docetaxel to ADT + RT on the primary end point of overall survival (OS) and the incidence of RT-induced cancers and explored whether the impact of the treatment effect on OS differed within prostate-specific antigen (PSA) subgroups (< 4, > 20 v 4-20 ng/mL) using the interaction test for heterogeneity adjusted for age and PC prognostic factors.


After a median follow-up of 10.2 years, 89 men died (25.43%); of these, 42 from PC (47.19%). Although OS was not significantly increased in the docetaxel arm (the restricted mean survival time over 10 years was 9.11 v 8.82 years; P = .22), significantly fewer RT-induced cancers were observed (10-year estimates: 0.61% v 4.90%; age-adjusted hazard ratio of 0.13; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.97; P = .046). The treatment effect of adding docetaxel to ADT + RT on OS significantly differed in men with a PSA < 4 ng/mL versus 4-20 ng/mL (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.27 and 1.51, respectively) because of less PC-specific mortality on the docetaxel arm (0.00% v 28.57%) among men with PSA < 4 ng/mL.


Adding docetaxel to ADT + RT did not prolong OS in men with unfavorable-risk PC, but decreased RT-induced cancer incidence, and may prolong OS in the subgroup of men with a PSA < 4 ng/mL by reducing PC-specific mortality.

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