Two Trials Provide New Answers for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer

New findings from two prostate cancer trials will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. One trial determined that men with advanced prostate cancer who receive intermittent hormone therapy survive an average of 5.1 years compared to 5.8 years for men who receive therapy continuously. The second trial determined that abiraterone (Zytiga) in combination with prednisone (a steroid) was effective for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in patients who have not yet received chemotherapy. Abiraterone is currently approved for patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.

Prostatic Enlargement Drug May Improve Prostate Cancer Screening Results

A recent study evaluated the effects of finasteride (sold as Proscar) on the usefulness of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening to detect prostate cancer. Researchers determined that treatment with finasteride may differentiate individuals who have a rise in PSA due to cancer from those who have a rise due to other causes, such as benign enlargement and inflammation. The combination of finasteride with PSA to detect prostate cancer may decrease the rate of unnecessary biopsies.

Patients' Race Linked to Prostate Surgery Quality

Recent data suggests that black men with prostate cancer may have worse outcomes than white men. Several factors appear to be involved, including access to appropriate health care and economic issues.

Breast Cancer Drug May Decrease Side Effects of Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer

A recent study found that the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen can prevent breast tenderness and breast pain in men treated with androgen suppression therapy for prostate cancer. Tamoxifen was more effective at reducing breast symptoms than another breast cancer medication or radiation therapy. Treatment was not associated with any significant side effects.

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New Drug Improves Survival in Advanced Prostate Cancer

In a recent phase III clinical trial, the anti-androgen drug abiraterone (sold as Zytiga) improved survival from 11.2 months to 15.8 months in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Participants were treated with abiraterone in combination with prednisone, a common steroid medication. The most common side effects were fatigue, anemia, and back and bone pain.

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Drop in Testosterone Levels after Radiation Therapy May Point to Early Prostate Cancer Recurrence

Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center have identified a relationship between testosterone levels after radiation therapy and the risk of prostate cancer recurrence in a small number of patients. They found that individuals with a significant drop in testosterone were more likely to see a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA), possibly indicating recurrence. Further studies need to be conducted.

New Prostate Cancer Drug Performs Well in Early Clinical Trials

In a phase I clinical trial, a new drug that specifically targets prostate cancer cells has shown promising results. The drug, which combines an antibody protein that targets prostate cancer cells with a cancer-killing drug, has shown antitumor activity in advanced prostate cancer. A phase II clinical trial is being held to further evaluate the drug.

New Laser Treatment May Decrease Side Effects in Men with Prostate Cancer

Focal laser thermal therapy (FLTT) is being studied at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for treating men with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. The procedure uses a focal laser to kill cancer cells, while sparing surrounding tissue and decreasing the risk of unwanted side effects. A phase III clinical trial is planned to start in the near future.

Mayo Clinic Approved to Use New PET Scan Chemical to Detect Recurrent Prostate Cancer

The FDA has approved a new chemical, choline C 11, to be used at the Mayo Clinic to help detect recurrent prostate cancer. The chemical will be used with PET imaging and may help detect recurrent prostate cancer much earlier than current methods. The chemical is not known to cause any significant side effects.