Prostate cancer drugs extend life
Published on 31 July 2013 11:30 AM
Scientists have hailed recent advances in prostate cancer treatments that have tripled the life expectancy for men with an incurable form of the disease.
A new study found that patients with incurable prostate cancer now survive for an average of 41 months, compared with an average of just 13 to 16 months in 2003.
The study involved a total of 442 men who had been treated at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London over the last 10 years.
All of the patients had been diagnosed with an advanced form of prostate cancer which no longer responded to traditional hormone treatments.
The men participated in trials and drug access programmes at the hospital. Around half were treated with abiraterone, a new prostate cancer drug that only became available on the NHS last year.
Some 78% of the patients were given docetaxel-based chemotherapy, which was approved for use on the NHS in 2005. Meanwhile, a smaller number of the patients were treated with three new drugs - enzalutamide, cabazitaxel and radium.
Extended life expectancy
Following the results, researchers said they believe the models used to predict life expectancy for prostate cancer sufferers should be updated to take account of the new range of treatments.
The findings showed that 238 of the patients who had not received chemotherapy before entering a clinical trial survived for an average of two-and-a-half years.
However, two commonly used prediction models indicated that these men would only live for between 18 and 21 months, falling short by about a year.
The study has been published in the journal European Urology.
Professor Johann de Bono, from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden, said the latest findings highlighted the 'remarkable benefits' of new prostate cancer treatments in helping men live longer with an incurable form of the disease.
He said: 'Advanced prostate cancer is still incurable, but new treatments are giving men more time to do the things that matter to them with their loved ones. That couldn't be more important and shows the strides we are making in the fight against the disease.'
Copyright Press Association 2013