Main Menu

ICR's pioneering prostate cancer drug found to be effective before chemotherapy

Abiraterone, a prostate cancer drug discovered at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, showed impressive benefits in a major clinical trial of men with early-stage prostate cancer.

The drug has already been approved by NICE for men with advanced prostate cancer, but could now benefit men with earlier disease who have not yet received chemotherapy.

The phase III trial, carried out with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, showed that when the drug was given to men with no or mild symptoms before chemotherapy it could double the time before tumour progression could be detected by a scan.

Professor Johann de Bono and colleagues gave abiraterone to 1,088 men with prostate cancer that no longer responded to standard hormone-suppressing drugs but who had not received chemotherapy.

Men taking abiraterone went an average of 16.5 months before tumour growth was detected by a CT or MRI scan – twice as long as the 8.3 months among men taking a placebo. Men in the abiraterone group also reported less pain than those on placebo.

The benefits seen in some men were so impressive that the trial was stopped early so that all men in the study could receive it.

Men with advanced prostate cancer are already seeing the benefits of abiraterone, with patients living longer and suffering fewer side effects. The trial’s findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, pave the way for more men with prostate cancer to be treated with abiraterone earlier in the course of their disease, without having to undergo toxic chemotherapy first.

Abiraterone was discovered at the ICR in what is now the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit and further developed at the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

comments powered by Disqus