A new chemotherapy drug widely regarded as the first treatment that prolongs the life of men with advanced prostate cancer has been hailed by medical experts.
Research indicated that those who trialled cabazitaxel in the later, more aggressive stages of the disease lived approximately 30% longer than those not taking the medication.
Cabazitaxel was tested on patients with advanced prostate cancer who have developed a resistance to hormone treatment and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel.
The large-scale trial, led by Johann de Bono from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden Foundation Trust, was carried out in 146 trial sites in 26 countries.
Patients received injections of cabazitaxel or mitoxantrone – a chemotherapy drug also used on patients who are resistant to docetaxel.
The study concluded that patients receiving injections of cabazitaxel lived on average 15.1 months, compared to 12.7 months for those in the mitoxantrone treatment group.
The research also found that cabazitaxel blocked cancer growth for twice as long as mitoxantrone (1.4 months compared to 2.8 months), and those who took it had lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels for longer.
Cabazitaxel has been approved for use by the FDA, in combination with the steroid prednisone and because of its encouraging results, scientists now want to test it on patients at an earlier stage of the disease, including those who have not yet undergone chemotherapy treatment.
While scientists believe the drug will be available for use in Europe in the not-too-distant future, its approval by the NHS for use in Britain depends on its cost, which is still being calculated.
But its effectiveness is still a huge boost for British men suffering from prostate cancer, which claims approximately 10,000 lives in the UK every year.
Copyright Press Association 2010