By Lola Augustine Brown
British researchers have reported promising results in the fight against prostate cancer. The drug abiraterone (marketed as Zytiga) has been around since 2011; now it’s been shown to improve survival rates by 37 per cent when used in combination with hormone therapy, according to study results presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Traditional hormone treatment, or androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT), prevents androgen hormones, such as testosterone, from fuelling the growth of cancer cells; abiraterone prevents the production of androgen hormones in the first place.
In the study, a group of 1,917 men were treated with ADT, with just over half of the group (960 men) receiving abiraterone, as well. In the group that received ADT only, there were 262 deaths; in the group given both treatments, there were 184. The combination-therapy group had a three-year survival rate of 83 per cent, compared with 76 per cent in the group receiving ADT hormone treatment alone.
Based on the results, published this week researchers advise that patients be given access to the drug as early as possible to increase their chances of survival.