Chemotherapy refers to any type of therapy that uses chemicals to kill or halt the growth of cancer cells. The drugs work in various ways but are all based on the same simple principle: Stop the cells from dividing and you stop the growth and spread of the tumor.
Until recently, chemotherapy was used only to relieve symptoms associated with very advanced or metastatic disease. But studies now show that docetaxel (Taxotere) can prolong the lives of men with prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy. Consequently, doctors are increasingly recognizing the potential benefits of chemotherapy for their patients with prostate cancer.
Dozens of clinical trials are underway to identify chemotherapy regimens that are more tolerable and more effective at different stages of the disease. Some trials seek to improve upon the results with docetaxel by adding it to other novel agents and testing the combination.