Researchers have found a new drug called Enzalutamide (sold under brand name Xtandi), which in their studies, proved to be helpful in preventing the recurrence of aggressive types of Prostate Cancer.
Prostate Cancer is in most cases, a slow growing cancer, which is why there can be total eradication, if the cancer is found early by screening tests that check for a man's PSA Levels. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen, and it an enzyme that is produced by the prostate gland. You can read more about PSA on the facts pages of this website.
Although prostate cancer is typically slow growing, there are men who have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, which returns following initial treatment.
The commonest way presently of treating men with the more aggressive type of prostate cancer, is to use medications classified as Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). These types of medications, block the production of Testosterone. Although they lower Testosterone levels in the blood, some Testosterone is still made, and for some men with the aggressive form of prostate cancer this small amount is enough to cause the cancer cells to return. Additionally, ADT drugs can give many unwanted side effects like problems with cognition (thinking), impotence, hot flashes, endocrine abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and many other side effects.
This new medicine Enzalutamide, works by blocking the actions of Testosterone on the prostate gland. Enzalutamide also can produce side effects such as hot flashes, back pain, fainting and others. Some men may find these side effects more tolerable than those of ADT drugs.
An international Phase III clinical trial headed by medical doctor Dr. Stephen Freeland, Chair of Prostate Cancer department of Cedars Sinai Hospital in L.A, USA, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved taking 1,068 men with prostate cancer and randomly giving them either an Androgen Deprivation Therapy alone, Enzalutamide alone, or a combination of both drugs.
The results showed that a combination of both drugs, led to a reduced risk of metastasis or death by 58% over ADT alone. In the study, Enzalutamide alone reduced the risk of metastasis or death by 37% over ADT alone. Both treatments maintained quality of life relative to the ADT alone.
Enzalutamide is awaiting FDA approval in the USA, as of the time this article was written. It is available for doctors to prescribe for patient use.
Image by Freepik. Blue ribbon used in some countries for prostate cancer awareness initiatives.