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Targeted therapy may benefit men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones

A new-generation cancer drug could shrink prostate tumours that have spread to patients’ bones and help to relieve bone pain, trial results suggest.


Results to be released at the European Society of Medical Oncology congress in Vienna find signs of patient benefit for Cabozantinib – one of a new breed of cancer therapies precisely targeted at tumours.


The findings will be presented this Sunday (30 September) by Professor Johann de Bono, leader of the prostate cancer targeted therapy team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and honorary consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.


Cabozantinib was tested in a Phase II trial of 51 men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose disease was getting worse despite previous chemotherapy, and had spread to their bones.


After treatment with the drug, there was evidence that tumours had shrunk in 11 of 20 patients whose bone scans have been evaluated so far. Around half of the patients in the trial were suffering pain, and most of these men were using strong painkillers such as morphine for relief.
Following treatment, around 70 per cent of those evaluable reported a substantial reduction in pain (10/14 patients) and more than half (7/12 patients) decreased their painkiller use. These patients also reported that the cancer was interfering less with their daily life, including their ability to sleep and carry out normal activities. The most common side-effects were high blood pressure, decreased appetite and back pain.


Professor de Bono said: “Although we have helped develop a number of new drugs for advanced prostate cancer over recent years, men’s tumours ultimately develop resistance to treatment and so finding new options for men with late-stage disease is still crucially important. As prostate cancer progresses, it commonly spreads to men’s bones, which can lead to bone fractures and severe pain. This drug has so far only been tested in a small number of patients and isn’t curing them of their cancers, but it is showing promise at taking away the pain of prostate cancer and helping men live a normal life.”


Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), said: “This is an exciting time for prostate cancer research, with four new drugs shown to extend life in advanced cancer in the last two years – three of which the ICR has helped develop. This latest treatment is another of the new generation of drugs precisely targeted at tumours, and it’s promising that it is showing clear signs of activity and patient benefit.”


Professor Martin Gore, Medical Director at The Royal Marsden, 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.”


Cabozantinib is an oral targeted drug known as a kinase inhibitor that is being developed by Exelixis. It blocks two molecules involved in cancer growth and spread: VEGFR2, which cancers use to form new blood vessels so they can tap into the supply of nutrients in the blood system, and MET, which is known to be abnormally activated in prostate cancer.




Media Contact: 
ICR Communications Manager, Tatjana Trposka on 020 7153 5312


Notes to editors:

Abstract 897O: Cabozantinib (XL184) at 40 mg in Patients with Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (mCRPC): Results of a Phase 2 Non-Randomized Expansion Cohort (NRE) will be presented by Professor Johann de Bono at the ESMO Congress on Sunday September 30 2012 at 10.45am.

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