A pair of drugs show promise in delaying spread of prostate cancer by 2 years

Research from two independent clinical trials demonstrated the ability of new drugs in treating the most challenging prostate cancers that reject standard hormonal therapy but are not detected by imaging techniques, the New York Times reports.

Nearly 150,000 men worldwide each year face this type of cancer, but the two drugs—apalutamide and enzalutamide—demonstrated the ability to afford two extra years to these patients before their cancer metastasized. This could allow for two years before chemotherapy or other treatment is needed.

The study of the experimental drug apalutamide was published Thursday, Feb. 8, in the New England Journal of Medicine. Results from the separate study on enzalutamide—currently approved for treating prostate cancer that’s already metastasized—has yet to be peer reviewed for publication, according to the Times.

The two studies were presented Thursday at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

“We’re going from rags to riches,” said Judd Moul, MD and professor of surgery and director of the Duke Prostate Center, who was not involved in either study in the story. “Up until now, we haven’t had anything for these guys. We just had to tell them ‘We’ll keep an eye on it.’”

Patients in each study were men who had undergone a form of treatment for prostate cancer, but then demonstrated increases in their prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a protein associated with prostate cancer. The men did not respond to standard treatment so suppress testosterone.

It took on average, 40.5 months for cancer to spread to the point of imaging detection in the men who received apalutamide. For those who received the placebo, the cancer spread in 16.2 months. In the enzalutamide study, it took 36.6 months compared to 14.7 months with the placebo for mestasis, according to the NYT.

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