British scientists are reporting promising results from tests of another new prostate cancer drug that has been found to significantly extend the lives of patients with advanced cases.
The findings, involving studies of the drug enzalutamide, prompted the head of one of the U.K.'s leading cancer research organizations to hail the new treatment as part of a “golden age” in prostate cancer research that has produced four new medications in only two years.
"What we're seeing now is an unprecedented period of success for prostate cancer research, with four new drugs shown to extend life in major clinical trials in just two years, and several others showing promise,” said Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research. “It truly is a golden age for prostate cancer drug discovery and development."
Ashworth, whose institute conducted the new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, noted advanced prostate cancer is extremely difficult to treat. “It's taken a massive coordinated effort to finally bring new drugs into the pipeline, after decades where there were no options once old-style hormone treatment stopped working,” he said.
For the new study, researchers tracked the effects of enzalutamide – a new type of hormone treatment –in 1,199 patients with prostate cancer that had spread to other parts of the body. The men had previously received chemotherapy. The results showed the drug extended the lives of the patients significantly – by about five months – and improved the quality of life for about 43 percent of the patients.
The findings could widen the available treatment options for men with the disease, researchers concluded.
Three other new drugs – sipuleucel-T (Provenge), cabazitazel and abiraterone – have also been approved to treat prostate cancer in the past two years.