June 7, 2012

Radical Change for Routine Prostate Cancer Treatment

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — It has been said that 1 in every 6 men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. Second to skin cancer, prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in men today. Researchers have been constantly developing better therapies to treat the life threatening disease.

New study results have just upended a decades-old prostate cancer therapy approach. Senior author of the long-term study Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center was quoted as saying, “I now treat patients very differently, and that will change clinical care forever.”

Hormone treatments fight prostate cancer by turning off testosterone production in men´s bodies. But the side effects of those treatments include mood changes, bone loss, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes and weight gain. Due to his, many patients choose to “pulse” their treatment, which is when they take the hormones until the cancer stops growing, stop the treatment for a while, and then restart it when the cancer begins to grow again.

In the end, these men grew worse instead of better. “The very patients you´d logically offer intermittent therapy did not do as well,” Dr. Ian Thompson was quoted as saying.  “What I and so many of us who specialize in prostate cancer thought we knew, based on our experience, was simply wrong.”

The study included more than 1,500 men with hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer who were randomly assigned to receive intermittent hormonal therapy or continuous hormonal therapy. Patients in the intermittent therapy group received about half as much hormonal therapy as those in the continuous therapy group.

The survival rates of the men with continues therapy were significantly higher than those who received intermittent hormonal therapy. In men with minimal disease spread (meaning it did not spread beyond the spine, pelvis, and lymph nodes) was 7.1 years for those who received continuous therapy compared to 5.2 years for the intermittent therapy group.

“In comparison to many current ℠breakthrough´ treatments for prostate cancer that improve survival by two to three months, this is an incredible discovery,” Dr. Thompson concluded.

SOURCE: American Society of Clinical Oncology