Double dose of prostate drugs boosts survival rate by 40%

Bryan Strickland
June 5, 2017

Half were given the standard hormone therapy treatment known as androgendeprivation therapy ADT, while the other half were given ADT plus the drug abiraterone.

Thousands of men could benefit from a new way of treating prostate cancer that doubles their average life expectancy, research has found. Results showed that man who received abiraterone saw a 70 percent reduction in disease progression.

More than 161,000 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to occur in US men in 2017, almost 10 percent of all new cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute. The researchers believe the findings show there's an added benefit to patients who are beginning long-term hormone therapy.

Prof Nicholas James, from the University of Birmingham, who led the research, said: "These are the most powerful results I've seen from a prostate cancer trial - it's a once-in-a-career feeling". "In addition to the improvements in survival and time without relapse, the drug reduced the rates of severe bone complications, a major problem in prostate cancer, by more than a half".

Editor's Note: This trial was funded by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

One patient who participated in the trial, Alfred Samuels, 59, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in January 2012.

Alfred said: "It felt like my world fell apart overnight".

Key Clinical Findings The study synthesized data from 6 phase III trials concurrently conducted in 12 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia through IDEA, the International Duration Evaluation of Adjuvant therapy collaboration. In a subset of patients categorized as low risk of cancer recurrence, defined as cancer spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes and not completely through the bowel wall, there was nearly no DFS difference between a 3-month versus 6-month course of therapy (83.1% vs 83.3%). "I'm still on the trial, which I find reassuring and, fortunately, my cancer is being managed well". However, ADT drugs do not prevent the adrenal glands and prostate cancer cells from continuing to produce small amounts of testosterone, the researchers said.

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Comparatively, 83% of men assigned abiraterone therapy survived versus 76% of men on standard hormone therapy.

In late 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel of independent physicians, recommended against routine prostate cancer testing, citing concerns that it often caught tumors that did not need treatment and led to unnecessary procedures with side effects such as impotence and incontinence.

Each year, around 46,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United Kingdom, and around 11,000 men die from the disease.

"Abiraterone is already used to treat some men whose disease has spread but our results show many more could benefit", Dr James stated. LATITUDE suggests that abiraterone acetate plus prednisone, in combination with androgen deprivation therapy, can offer a new and much-needed option for patients with high-risk newly diagnosed mHNPC. He added that with their generosity, scientists could carry out research that will help save many lives.

That's longer than many new cancer drugs do.

CHICAGO-A Web-based tool that enables patients to report their symptoms in real time, triggering alerts to clinicians, may provide significant health benefits, including longer survival, according to a randomized clinical trial of 766 patients.

But the research, unveiled at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, found prescribing the drug abiraterone at the same time hugely improved the effectiveness of treatment.

Workman added that the drug is a highly innovative treatment that not only improves survival rates but has lower rates of side-effects, compared to conventional therapies.

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