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New prostate cancer drug extends life
[Posted: Thu 16/08/2012 by Gillian Tsoi www.irishhealth.com]
A new drug that significantly extends the life of men with advanced prostate cancer has been discovered.
The drug, called enzalutamide, also dramatically improves quality of life and could lead to more effective treatments for men with the disease.
It is the fourth drug that has been discovered in the past two years to extend the life of prostate cancer patients.
The head of one of the UK's leading cancer research organisations has hailed a golden age in prostate cancer drug discovery as for the fourth time in two years.
Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, said: "Advanced prostate cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and it's taken a massive coordinated effort to finally bring new drugs into the pipeline, after decades where there were no options once old-style hormone treatment stopped working.
"What we're seeing now is an unprecedented period of success for prostate cancer research, with four new drugs shown to extend life in major clinical trials in just two years, and several others showing promise. It truly is a golden age for prostate cancer drug discovery and development."
Professor Martin Gore, medical director of The Royal Marsden Hospital, said: "We are delighted with the recent progress that has been made in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and to see the impact this is having on our patients, many of whom are living longer with a better quality of life as the result of these new drugs."
Enzalutamide, a new type of hormone treatment, was assessed in 1,199 patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that had previously received chemotherapy, in a study sponsored by pharmaceutical companies Medivation and Astellas.
The average survival period with enzalutamide was 18.4 months, compared with 13.6 months for men receiving a placebo.
Around 43% of men taking enzalutamide as part of the study reported an improved quality of life, compared with 18% of men taking a placebo.
In November last year, the trial's Independent Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the trial be stopped early and men who received the placebo be offered enzalutamide.
The Institute of Cancer Research and its partner hospital The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust jointly led the new Phase III trial of enzalutamide and the Phase III trials of two other drugs, cabazitaxel and abiraterone.
Abiraterone was also discovered at The Institute of Cancer Research and was recently made available on the NHS. A further drug sipuleucel-T has also been shown to extend life in the two-year "golden age" period.
Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), said cancer research in the UK was finally delivering new treatment options for men with advanced prostate cancer after a long period where the options were limited.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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