A landmark Australian-led clinical trial has shown that hormone therapy with a drug called enzalutamide can improve the survival of some men with advanced, hormone‐sensitive prostate cancer.
Professor Ian Davis, Head of the Monash University Eastern Health Clinical School and chair of the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP) which led the ENZAMET trial, said it showed men with this sort of cancer who receive enzalutamide with standard treatment have a 33% improvement in survival compared to men receiving standard treatment alone.
Five‐year survival from prostate cancer in Australia is high (95%) but this mainly represents men with earlier stages of the disease.
Professor Davis, said metastatic prostate cancer was still the second‐leading cause of cancer death in Australian men after lung cancer.
“On current trends, around 3,500 Australian men will die from prostate cancer this year,” Professor Davis said, “so it is urgent that we research new treatments and ways of using established treatments better.”
“The benefits of enzalutamide had already been established for prostate cancers that are no longer responding to hormonal therapy. We found that by using enzalutamide in patients starting hormonal therapy, there was a 60% improvement in the time it takes to detect the cancer growing again along with a 33% reduced chance of dying.
“Prostate cancer is complex and so are the benefits, side effects and risks of multiple treatments.
“Clinical trials are the most effective way of determining which treatments, alone or in combination, will provide the greatest survival benefit to the patient with the least adverse outcomes.”
Professor Christopher Sweeney, co‐chair with Professor Davis of the ENZAMET trial, said, “This is one of the most significant findings yet in clinical trials for men with metastatic hormone‐sensitive prostate cancer – and a great example of effective international collaboration.”