New Drug Effective In Slowing Down Prostate Cancer

A new drug has proven to be effective in slowing down advanced stages of prostate cancer as well as help maintain the quality of life of the patients with the advanced stages of the said disease. The said drug was undergoing a Phase 3 blind clinical trial but was unblinded midway, allowing patients who were receiving a placebo to take the drug instead because of the favorable results that it was showing. The findings will be presented at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

The drug known as abiraterone acetate, also being marketed by its brand name Zytiga, was able to slow the spread of metastatic prostate cancer. It was also able to delay the development of pain and the deterioration of the overall condition of the patients. According to Charles J. Ryan, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and principal investigator of the said clinical trial, “This drug extended lives and gave patients more time when they weren’t experiencing significant pain from the disease.”

“This is an interim analysis, the final analysis should be available in 2014. But it appears that this medication may lay a foundation for the use of this drug at an earlier stage of prostate cancer, and its benefits may be able to be delivered to a much wider population of patients as a result,” Dr. Ryan further added.

Prostate cancer is considered as the second most common cancer in men, with around 30,000 patients dying form the disease annually. Although highly treatable, prostate cancer can turn lethal when it metastasizes and spread into the bones, lymph nodes and other parts of the body and no longer reacts to standard hormonal therapy. The recent study of the effects of Zytiga is the first randomized clinical trial conducted that looks into the drug’s expanded benefits in a group of prostate cancer patients with the disease at its advanced stages and has spread.

The study involved 1,088 men located in 151 cancer facilities in North America, Europe and Australia. The average participant had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at least five years ago. The participants were given Zytiga in combination with low-dose prednisone. The trial went unblended when it was seen that the drug effectively delayed the need for the participants for chemotherapy and other pain medications. Zytiga was also able to slow down the spread of cancer from an average of 8 months in the placebo group as compared to double the time in the original treatment group. The said drug offered such clear benefits that an independent monitoring committee recommended that the drug also be given to patients who were receiving the placebo.

“This trial with a well-tolerated oral agent slowed the progression of the disease while helping to delay suffering and maintaining quality of life in patients with advanced prostate cancer,” Dr. Ryan said. “These are the goals that we are moving toward in cancer treatment. The treatment of advanced prostate cancer is undergoing a rapid transformation, and this drug is a key component of that transformation,” he further added.

Source: University of California – San Francisco (2012, June 2). For advanced prostate cancer, new drug slows disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from


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