The Latest Prostate-Cancer Treatments
Although experts predict a sharp increase in chemotherapy-resistant prostate cancer cases, researchers are making progress in developing alternate treatment methods.
As the baby boom generation grows older, and as life expectancy becomes longer, an increasing number of prostate cancers will be diagnosed. And the older the patient at the time of diagnosis, the more aggressive the cancer is and the less likely chemotherapy can be tolerated.
In an article published in Drugs and Aging, experts at the University of Colorado Cancer Center gave an overview of the drugs being developed as alternatives to chemotherapy.
Lead author Elizabeth Kessler, MD, a fellow at the cancer center, said in a statement that there has already been progress in the development of some treatments. “Drugs like abiraterone and enzalutamide…have been approved for use in late stage prostate cancer,” she says. Additionally, these medicines are now being tested for use in earlier stage cancers as well.
They work by focusing on testosterone, which causes some prostate cancer cases to grow. Even after chemotherapy, some testosterone is left in the body, and these newer drugs would eliminate testosterone altogether.
Scientists are also looking at the technique immunotherapy, which increases the body’s ability to fight off cancer. One drug, Sipuleucel-T, was approved in 2010 but requires a patient’s blood to be shipped to special lab facilities so it can be returned and reinfused. Now, though, scientists are focusing on “second-generation” immunotherapies that may be less elaborate and expensive procedures.
Additionally, researchers are working on targeted radiation treatment that could treat bone metastases.
Kessler said that these drugs represent “a major shift” in treatment of prostate cancer – and will provide more effective treatment for a growing number of prostate-cancer cases.