Phase 3 trial confirms abiraterone acetate efficacy for patients with advanced prostate cancer

Results of a phase 3 trial published in The Lancet Oncology have confirmed that the drug abiraterone acetate (marketed as Zytiga) offers a significant survival benefit to patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, which is spreading to other parts of their body (known as metastatic prostate cancer).

Abiraterone works by blocking an enzyme involved in the production of testosterone, a hormone. Testosterone helps to proliferate, so blocking production of the hormone can reduce .

The study, which is the first trial to show a significant for a drug which works in this way, involved 1195 patients in thirteen countries, and compared the effects of prescribing abiraterone and the steroid prednisone, which combats some of the side effects of , with a placebo plus predisnone.

The trial participants had all undergone at least one earlier round of chemotherapy with another drug, , which had not halted the progression of their cancer. The researchers found that treatment with abiraterone acetate resulted in an average survival time of 15.8 months, compared to 11.2 months for those given a placebo.

For patients with metastatic , the average overall survival time for patients who have undergone chemotherapy is consistently less than two years, so the increased survival time offered by abiraterone acetate could result in substantially improved prospects for patients whose prostate cancer continues to progress after initial treatment with docetaxel.

The trial also confirmed that abiraterone acetate appears to have a good safety profile; although some adverse events were recorded in patients given the drug, these were generally reversible, and didn't prevent continuation of the treatment.

According to one of the study's authors, Dr Karim Fizazi of the Institut Gustave Roussy in France, "Our work confirms that abiraterone acetate can be used as an effective and safe treatment for castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer patients whose disease continues to progress after docetaxel treatment. Furthermore, unlike current alternatives for this patient population, abiraterone plus prednisone therapy can be given orally in an outpatient setting, providing an additional benefit for both patients and clinicians."

In a linked Comment, Dr Guru Sonpavde, the Director of Urologic Medical Oncology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), Comprehensive Cancer Center, USA, welcomed the results, stating that "[This trial] represents an important advance in the therapy of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer," adding that, "[Further] clinical trials investigating novel drugs and combinations should be strongly encouraged since all available options are palliative in nature."

More information: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan… (12)70379-0/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

Nov 21, 2014

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

Nov 21, 2014

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.