Research shows that Patients with Incurable Prostate Cancer Live Twice as long as a Decade ago

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According to the findings of a remarkable new research, men with incurable prostate cancer live twice as long as a decade ago.

Data from prostate cancer patients hospitalized at one of the most renowned hospitals specialized on cancer treatment, the “Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust”, indicate that patients with untreatable prostate cancer manage now to live approximately two years more than they did just a decade ago.

Incurable Prostate Cancer

The Research

The research was carried out by the “Institute of Cancer Research” and the “Royal Marsden”, and revealed that the use of a variety of new treatments against prostate cancer has been rather successful, forcing the scientific community to amend the predicted life span of patients suffering from incurable prostate cancer.

The research was funded by several English and American institutes and its findings were published in the journal European Urology.

The Data

Researchers examined statistics from 442 patients hospitalized in the United Kingdom. They were included in 32 clinical trials and two drug programmes. Namely:

  • Approximately 78 % of prostate cancer patients underwent docetaxel-based chemotherapy.
  • Almost half of them (49 %) took abiraterone, a targeted drug against prostate cancer.
  • A small percentage of prostate cancer patients were also treated with three new medications drugs, namely enzalutamide, cabazitaxel and radium.

The Findings

The researchers were astonished to discover that new targeted treatments to patients with incurable castration-resistant prostate cancer have raised their life expectancy by 41 months – almost three years and six months. This means a drastic increase from the average of 13 – 16 months that characterized the ante – docetaxel chemotherapy period.

Comments from Researchers

Professor J. de Bono (Experimental Cancer Medicine of The Institute of Cancer Research, Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology of The Royal Marsden) commented on these fascinating findings emphasizing on the notable benefits noted from novel therapies for advanced prostate cancer patients. In other words, incurable prostate cancer patients treated with new therapies live much longer than they did some years ago.

Of course, that does not mean that advanced prostate cancer is now always curable, but these new therapies provide such patients with much more time to devote to their families, friends and activities, indicating the great steps science is taking in our struggle against prostate cancer. In addition, it is now obvious that the survival prediction models that are now in use regarding prostate cancer patients with metastatic, castration-resistance tumors must be updated in order to echo the results of therapies based on innovative drugs, such as abiraterone.

An example will prove illuminating:

  • 238 patients that had not underwent chemotherapy prior to joining a clinical trial survived typically for 30.6 months, i.e. 2.5 years.
  • Prediction models that are generally preferred by NHS, such as “Halabi” and “Smoletz”, would predict that these men would survive 18 to 21 months.
  • That estimation would prove to be wrong by 9 to 12 months!

Professor A. Ashworth said that we are experiencing remarkable progress in our fight against prostate cancer, mainly because of medications that improve the prospects of patients suffering from advanced prostate tumors. He described the news of such patients living so much longer as “excellent” and stressed the research’s importance regarding the benefits of treating so many patients on clinical trials, thus “expanding access to new drugs and accelerating their path to wider use on the NHS.”

C. Palmer who works as the Chief Executive of “The Royal Marsden” stated that during the last ten years there have been several remarkable strides towards a more effective advanced prostate cancer treatment, highlighting the role played by “The Royal Marsden” in this development. He also grasped the opportunity to emphasize the benefits resulting from the participation of patients to clinical trials, among which the reduced side – effects, as compared to those associated with usual chemotherapy treatments.

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