Prostate cancer: New drug for aggressive, resistant cases

A drug tested in a clinical trial shows a powerful effect in men with prostate cancer whose prostate-specific antigen levels continue to escalate despite hormone therapy.

In the phase III trial, which companies Pfizer and Astellas Pharma sponsored, enzalutamide was shown to lower the risk of metastasis or death by 71 percent when compared with a placebo.

Enzalutamide (brand name Xtandi) is approved in the United States to treat metastatic prostate cancer that is “castrate resistant.”

The new trial tested the effectiveness of the drug in aggressive, but not metastatic, castrate-resistant disease.

The drug is currently under review in the U.S. for approval to include men who have this disease.

The scientists report the findings of the trial in a paper now published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Lead study author Prof. Maha Hussain, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, says that she is “delighted” with the results. She led the trial while she was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Not only did the drug reduce cancer spread,” she adds, “but many other disease-related effects were [also] impacted.”

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