Prostate cancer drug extends the lifespan of cancer patients

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African-American men with prostate cancer show stronger response to hormone therapy | News-Medical

Leading us scientists have been able to find a unique and revolutionary method that will help stop the spread of cancer cells in men with prostate cancer.

Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London gave 258 men with the otherwise untreatable cancer the immunotherapy agent Keytruda (pembrolizumab). Professor de Bono adds: "Our study has found that immunotherapy can benefit a subset of men with advanced, otherwise untreatable prostate cancer, and these are most likely to include patients who have specific DNA fix mutations within their tumours". However, numerous men who were at death's door have been on the drug for more than 18 months and show no signs of the disease'.

In addition, he said, "This research shows that by providing equal access to treatment, we can reduce racial disparities in outcomes for men with advanced prostate cancer".

Data from nine trials including more than 8,000 men with advanced prostate cancer showed that survival for black men was initially the same as for white men - an average of 21 months.

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Prostate expert Dr David Graham at Levine Cancer Institute, North Carolina, said: 'These men have the most aggressive type of disease and have been through the gamut of what we have available now. "It is a new arrow in the quiver for men with lethal prostate cancer, it's a big deal for these patients". They have very short life spans left."Professor Johann de Bono is the director of the drug development cell. Every patient who participates in a clinical trial contributes to improving care, and all patients should have the opportunity to receive needed therapies", she said in an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) news release.

Just 5 percent of men in the trial saw their tumours actually shrink or disappear after treatment, but the proportion was higher in a small group of men whose tumours had mutations to genes involved in repairing DNA, the researchers noted.

Immunotherapy is transforming the treatment of cancer and is now part of routine practice for some skin and lung cancers. It is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells.

Some patients whose bodies were riddled with cancer have had "Lazarus-like" recoveries - and now show no visible signs of disease 18 months or more later, according to the doctor leading research into the treatment.

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Unfortunately, only 10 - 15% of the patients responded to immunotherapy, making the approach ineffective for the majority of prostate cancer patients.

Professor Bono concludes, "This new trial has found that testing for mutations in DNA fix genes could be a valuable marker of who will respond".

Aspherical 47,000 males are identified with prostate most cancers annually within the United Kingdom, with 11,631 deaths from the illness. This study should serve as a call for the entire cancer research community to make trials much more inclusive.

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