'Enormously exciting' prostate cancer treatment promises hope for more than 20000 men

Janssen announces data from the pivotal phase 3 LATITUDE clinical trial, which showed ZYTIGA (abiraterone acetate) plus prednisone, in combination with androgen deprivation therapy ("ADT"), demonstrated a significant improvement in overall survival and significantly prolonged radiographic progression-free survival in patients with high-risk metastatic hormone-naïve prostate cancer (mHNPC) compared to placebo plus ADT. "As part of the trial, I started taking abiraterone four times a day and had a hormone injection every eight weeks".

"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".

The study was presented at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.

"At first glance it appears as though the benefit and survival seen with abiraterone mirrors or exceeds the benefit we've seen with chemotherapy", with less toxic side effects, Pal said. James also said he hopes these results can change clinical practice. The studies are being presented this weekend at ASCO's annual meeting, in Chicago.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) previously said the treatment was not cost-effective for the NHS until cancers were more advanced.

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

Testosterone fuels prostate cancer growth, so doctors use androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to prevent the testicles from producing the male hormone.

Prostate cancer cells typically depend on testosterone to grow.

Abiraterone, a pill taken once daily, blocks an enzyme that converts other hormones to testosterone, essentially halting production of testosterone throughout the body.

One patient who participated in the trial, Alfred Samuels, 59, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in January 2012. Those who got the combination were 38 percent less likely to die during the trial follow-up than patients who received standard therapy, and had less pain and went for longer until they needed chemotherapy.

After three years, 83 percent of men in the abiraterone group were still alive compared with 76 percent on standard ADT.

Zytiga was also associated with a 53 percent lower risk of the cancer worsening.

"These are the most powerful results I've seen from a prostate cancer trial - it's a once in a career feeling".

Adding a new anti-hormonal drug to the standard treatment for advanced prostate cancer has been shown to reduce the risk of dying by nearly 40 percent, according to two studies published Saturday.

The trial looked at abiraterone as an additional treatment in patients with prostate cancer who were about to start long-term hormone therapy.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "These results could transform the treatment of prostate cancer". "This is one the biggest reductions in death I've seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers".

Usually, abiraterone is given to men who have stopped responding to ADT but the study found that giving it much earlier, and in combination with ADT, reduced the risk of dying by 37 per cent.

"We need to be cautious when using abiraterone in men who have an increased risk for heart problems, such as those with diabetes", said Fizazi.

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