A trial looking at docetaxel and rhenium 186 for people with prostate cancer that had spread to the bones

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer




Phase 1

This trial looked at combining docetaxel and rhenium 186 for prostate cancer that had spread to the bones. It recruited men whose cancer was no longer responding to hormone therapy.

Doctors often treat prostate cancer with hormone therapy. But sometimes this treatment can stop working and the cancer continues to grow. This is called hormone refractory prostate cancer.

When cancer spreads to the bones it can be painful. But doctors can treat it to help slow the growth of the cancer and relieve the pain. For prostate cancer these treatments can include radiotherapy and sometimes chemotherapy, such as docetaxel (also called Taxotere).

Rhenium 186 is a type of internal radiotherapy Open a glossary item. It is a radioactive substance. Doctors thought that it targeted cancer in the bone and may stop it from growing.

The aims of this study were to see

  • What was the best dose of rhenium 186 and docetaxel to give
  • What the side effects were

Summary of results

The trial team found that they could safely use rhenium 186 with docetaxel for men whose prostate cancer had spread to the bones.

This trial recruited 14 men in total.

The first few men had a low dose of rhenium 186. As they didn’t have any bad side effects, the next few had a higher dose and so on. One man in the 3rd group did have bad side effects and so a few more men were recruited into that group. There were going to be 4 groups. But after the 3rd group, rhenium 186 was not being made any more and the researchers couldn’t get any.  

The most significant side effect was a drop in blood cells. This was very much as expected.

The trial team concluded that for men with advanced prostate cancer it was safe to give 2 doses of rhenium 186 and docetaxel. They wanted to look at this further. However as they couldn’t get rhenium 186 any more they decided to use rhenium 188 which is very similar. The trial team will now do a larger trial using docetaxel and rhenium 188 for men with prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.  

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Prof J. O’Sullivan

Supported by

Belfast City Hospital HPSS Trust
Covidien Mallinckrodt
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 997

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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