Reporting Symptoms Online to Docs Helps Cancer Patients Live Longer

Kristen Gonzales
June 5, 2017

Scientists from the University of Birmingham recruited 1,900 men with prostate cancer that had spread to their pelvic area or other organs.

"I have patients who have been waiting for these results" to see how long they will have to take adjuvant chemotherapy, said Randy Hecht, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles.

The findings, following 2015 trials showing an advantage with chemotherapy, offer the first new options for metastatic prostate cancer patients in almost 70 years, according to Dr Karim Fizazi, head of the department of cancer medicine at France's Gustave Roussy Cancer Center, who led the study. James also said he hopes these results can change clinical practice.

The LATITUDE study data demonstrated that the combination therapy delivered an average stretch of 33 months without the disease worsening, compared to 14.8 months for standard hormone therapy.

Men who received hormone therapy, the recommended first-time treatment, plus Zytiga were about one-third less likely to die during two studies than those who got standard treatment alone, according to research presented Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "These results could transform the treatment of prostate cancer. This is one of the biggest reductions in death I've seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers", lead investigator Nicholas James, PhD, of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said in a press release. Overall, 52% of patients had metastatic disease and 48% non-metastatic disease (20% node-positive or node-indeterminate and 28% node-negative).

After three years, fewer than 5 per cent of those on abiraterone whose disease was confined had relapsed and got worse compared to 25 per cent in the ADT arm of the trial.

Prof Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, said he was keen to now see abiraterone reassessed by NICE for use in patients "as early as possible".

The IDEA (International Duration Evaluation of Adjuvant chemotherapy) collaboration, involving more than 12,000 patients in six parallel clinical trials, was meant to see if shorter - and therefore less toxic - courses of post-surgical oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy are as effective as the current standard, according to Axel Grothey, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

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"The improvement in survival we saw may seem modest, but it is greater than the effect of many targeted cancer drugs for metastatic cancer", Basch noted in an ASCO news release. He lives in Harrow with his partner and five children.

Abiraterone, also known as Zytiga, is a hormone therapy. Samuels said that he felt like his world fell apart overnight, as the doctors told him that surgery wasn't an option for him because the cancer had spread beyond his prostate.

Most prostate cancers - 92 per cent of cases, according to the National Library of Medicine - are discovered early, before the tumours have spread elsewhere in the body.

Tests showed the treatment is working and his cancer is being well-managed.

Researchers combined standard hormone therapy with a drug called abiraterone, which is typically used only for cancer patients whose disease has stopped responding to standard hormone therapy.

Abiraterone goes further and shuts down production of the hormones that fuel prostate cancer's growth.

"The time for which the cancer remained under control was more than twice as long for men receiving abiraterone", said Jones.

The second clinical trial presented at ASCO provided immediate support for the first study's results, Schilsky said. "Shorter duration of treatment without compromising efficacy would really benefit patients and health care resources".

"Abiraterone is a highly innovative treatment that not only improves survival rates but has lower rates of side-effects than conventional therapies".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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