Source: Australian Financial Review – Jill Margo.
Researchers have extended the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer by simply re-arranging the sequence in which they take their medication.
The benefits are so substantial it has been suggested this strategy should become a new standard of treatment.
When presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday, the result was described as unprecedented.
The strategy gives men an extra year of life, and more. This is highly unusual in adults with solid tumours whose cancer is already widely spread.
Outgoing ASCO president Clifford Hudis said he was not aware of any historical study that offered this magnitude of improvement in survival.
The strategy resulted from a trial funded by the prestigious US National Cancer Institute. It was stopped prematurely after an interim analysis showed a significant survival difference for the men using the new strategy.
The key was changing the usual order of hormone therapy and chemotherapy in men who have been newly diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer.
Traditionally, men receive hormone therapy first and when that fails they move on to chemotherapy. When it stops working, chemotherapy is given in the form of the drug docetaxel. But the study showed those men who received ADT and docetaxel together from the beginning of treatment lived about 14 months longer than those who initially received ADT only.
The length of survival was even greater for men who had high-extent disease, which means their cancer had spread to major organs and/or to their bones. They lived 17 months longer than those who initially received ADT only.
Overall, men who received the docetaxel lived nearly 58 months compared to 44 months for those not given the drug…read more.