Prostate cancer vaccines more effective with hormone therapy

July 10, 2008,

Among patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, the addition of hormone therapy following vaccine treatment improved overall survival compared with either treatment alone or when the vaccine followed hormone treatment, according to recent data published in the July 15 Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Philip M. Arlen, M.D., director of the Clinical Research Group for the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, at the National Cancer Institute, said the findings have important implications for guiding treatment decisions for prostate cancer patients.

"Vaccines, if and when they are approved, can be safely and effectively combined with other therapies, including hormones," said Arlen. "There appears to be an advantage in overall survival."

Arlen and colleagues enrolled 42 patients who had castration-resistant prostate cancer. These patients were randomly assigned to receive either a poxvirus-based prostate-specific antigen vaccine or hormone therapy with nilutamide. At progression, patients received the other therapy and continued to receive their original therapy.

For all the patients enrolled in the study, the three-year survival probability was 71 percent and the median overall survival was 4.4 years. Patients randomized to the vaccine had a three-year survival probability of 81 percent and an overall survival of 5.1 years, while patients taking nilutamide had a three-year survival probability of 62 percent and an overall survival of 3.4 years.

Of the 42 patients in the study, 12 patients who were originally assigned to vaccine switched to nilutamide plus vaccine and eight patients who were originally assigned to nilutamide switched to vaccine plus hormone, due to rising levels of prostate-specific antigen with no evidence of metastasis. For patients who received vaccine and then nilutamide, the three-year survival probability was 100 percent with a median overall survival of 6.2 years. For patients who switched to the vaccine after hormone, the three-year survival probability was 75 percent with a median overall survival of 3.7 years.

Arlen said the hormone therapy in combination with the vaccine works in two ways.

"By using hormone therapy in prostate cancer you can help enhance your T-cell response to where the cancer is in the prostate gland, and you are also more likely to achieve a better immune response," said Arlen.

Building on the results of this phase II study, researchers have developed another generation of this vaccine by adding molecules which boost T-cell responses.

Based on the current pace of vaccine research overall, Arlen predicts that men with prostate cancer could potentially see an effective, new treatment vaccine within the next several years.

"Phase II trials such as this one are adding to our knowledge, and other phase III trials are getting ready to publish their data," said Arlen. "If the phase II data hold up in phase III trials, we could see a new treatment vaccine within a few years."

Source: American Association for Cancer Research

Explore further: Smart insulin patch may aid future therapies

Related Stories

Smart insulin patch may aid future therapies

January 18, 2018
A smart insulin patch, once translated for humans, could eliminate the need for constant blood testing and help diabetics maintain a more consistent level of blood glucose.

Specialist explains why age 13 to 15 is ideal for the first gynecologist visit

January 17, 2018
Most parents are well-versed in schedules for their kids. They know to schedule an annual physical—or else the school nurse will call, or their child can't join the soccer team. They know when their kids need to start dental ...

Rocky start for Alzheimer's drug research in 2018

January 19, 2018
The year 2018, barely underway, has already dealt a series of disheartening blows to the quest for an Alzheimer's cure.

More dentists to discuss risks of HPV-related cancers with their patients

January 10, 2018
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease. While vaccines are helping stop its spread, HPV is still the cause of 72 percent of oropharyngeal cancers, which impact the base of the tongue, ...

Saliva test aims to detect HPV throat cancers

January 8, 2018
A QUT researcher is developing a simple saliva test to detect Human papilloma virus (HPV) in throat cancers.

'Immunomap' suggests more is better when it comes to immune cell receptors and patients' response to immunotherapy

January 8, 2018
Johns Hopkins scientists have used a form of artificial intelligence to create a map that compares types of cellular receptors, the chemical "antennas" on the surface of immune system T-cells. Their experiments with lab-grown ...

Recommended for you

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bgordski
not rated yet Mar 31, 2009
This is a confusing article. Why do patients with Castrate Resistant Pca still have a prostate? That is the cancer mother lode and is usually removed.
Other pca clinical trials use anti-Hormone therapy BEFORE chemo because it is understood to weaken pca and allow vaccines/chemo to attack a weaken tumor.
There was a viral vaccine III trial stopped because the vaccine/chemo arm had MORE patient deaths then the control arm. This article needs sources that can be varified.

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.