Abiraterone Drastically Delays Progression of Prostate Cancer

The addition of abiraterone acetate to standard therapy significantly delays cancer progression among patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. These results were presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as well as published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prostate cancer is stimulated to grow from circulating male hormones. An important component to therapy for many patients with prostate cancer is androgen therapy, a treatment that suppresses or counteracts the effects of male hormones in the body. Unfortunately, many patients become resistant to specific types of androgen therapy after they receive treatment for an extended time.

Abiraterone is an agent that blocks the production of male hormones in a man’s body through processes slightly different than other androgen therapies. It is already approved, in combination with the steroid prednisone, for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer that has stopped responding to prior treatments used to suppress male hormones.

Researchers recently conducted a clinical trial, referred to the LATITUDE trial, to evaluate the effectiveness of abiraterone among men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer that had spread from the prostate to distant and/or several sites in the body. The trial included nearly 1,200 men who had not received prior therapy: one group was treated with the addition of abiraterone to standard therapy including a standard androgen agent, plus prednisone (type of steroid), while a second group of patients was treated with a standard androgen agent (control group).

  • The median survival time with no evidence of cancer progression was 33 months for patients treated with abiraterone, compared with only 14.8 months for the control group.
  • Median overall survival had not yet been reached at the time of analysis for the group treated with abiraterone, and was 34.7 months for those in the control group.
  • Time until progression of pain, next subsequent therapy for prostate cancer, initiation of chemotherapy, progression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and time until a subsequent symptomatic skeletal event (bone pain, fracture, etc) were all superior in the group of patients treated with abiraterone, compared with the control group.
  • High blood pressure and low levels of Potassium occurred more frequently among patients treated with abiraterone.

The authors stated that “These findings led to the unanimous recommendation by the independent data and safety monitoring committee that the trial be unblinded and crossover be allowed for patients in the placebo [control] group to receive abiraterone.”

These results indicate a significant delay in the time to cancer progression among patients, as well as an improvement in survival, in newly diagnosed, yet advanced prostate cancer, with the addition of abiraterone to standard therapy.

Reference: Fizazi K, Tran NamPhuong, Fein L, et al. Abiraterone pus Prednisone in Metastatic, Casstration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. June 4, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1704174. Accessed June , 2017 Available at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1704174#t=article.

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