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Published on 2 February 2011

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Therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine welcomed by oncologists


Prevenge (sipuleucel-T), the first therapeutic cancer vaccine to demonstrate survival benefits in Phase III clinical trials, has been welcomed by oncologists, a survey suggests.

Oncologists and Pharmacy directors of managed care organisations were “highly satisfied” with the safety and tolerability of Dendreon’s Prevenge (sipuleucel-T) compared with other available therapies for treatment of metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (PCRPC), the results suggest.

A minority of oncologists selected Provenge as the safest and most tolerable available therapy for PCRPC, which is likely owing to its recent entry to the market and limited availability.

Those who did select Provenge as the most safe and tolerable option for treating PCRPC were most satisfied with the agent’s haematologic toxicity – a concern with one of the greatest impacts on prescribing.

The findings from Decision Resources’ analysis of the prostate cancer drug market reveal that docetaxel (Sanofi-Aventis’s Taxotere), prednisone (Sanofi-Aventis’s Cortancyl, Merck & Co.’s Decortin) — the sales-leading regimen in 2009 for treating MCRPC — is widely used in the first-line symptomatic setting, where there are few widely available effective therapeutic alternatives.

However, since its US launch  last year, Provenge is gaining use prior to chemotherapy despite its premium-price.

Sipuleucel-T was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 29, 2010, to treat asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

In addition to haematological toxicities, surveyed oncologists are most satisfied with Provenge’s survival achievements when compared with other currently available treatments.

However, oncologists and MCOs are dissatisfied with the overall costs of treatment with Provenge.

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