Men with advanced prostate cancer now have hope thanks to a new experimental treatment.
According to studies, combining an established prescription with an investigational therapy can help men with highly aggressive prostate tumors be treated more effectively.
Using both lengthened the time it took for malignancies to expand in people whose tumors lacked the PTEN gene. In men with advanced prostate cancer who had not previously undergone treatment, researchers evaluated the efficiency of the traditional hormone medication abiraterone combined with the novel treatment ipatasertib. The phase three trial enrolled 1,101 men from 26 countries, 521 of whom had tumors that lacked a fully functional PTEN gene.
The research, which was funded by pharmaceutical giant Roche, found that using ipatasertib in combination with abiraterone as a first-line treatment lowered the risk of mortality or cancer progression in patients by 23% when compared to abiraterone alone.
Around half of men with advanced prostate cancer — more than 10,000 men every year in the UK – have tumors with defective PTEN genes. If the combo treatment is approved, it may be beneficial to them.
Men with tumors lacking the gene have a bad prognosis, according to researchers, but the new results could open the door to a combination treatment that keeps patients healthy for longer.
Among patients with PTEN-deficient tumors, 61% of those who received the combination saw their tumor shrink, compared to 39% of those who just received abiraterone.
According to the study published in The Lancet, 19% of individuals on the combo experienced complete remission, compared to only 6% of those on abiraterone alone.
The medicine combination works by turning off two potent growth signals that fuel prostate cancer at the same time.
Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust believe more research is needed before the dual method can be approved by regulators or made available on the NHS.
“The findings offer a promising new therapy option for patients with a common and aggressive kind of prostate cancer,” said study leader Johann de Bono, ICR professor of experimental cancer medicine and consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden.
“Because PTEN is one of the most often deleted genes in prostate cancer, this finding gives many patients hope.”