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Experimental Drugs Do Battle Against Advanced Prostate Cancer
Date:1/31/2012

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Two new drugs, taken alone or potentially together, may boost survival for men with advanced prostate cancer, studies suggest.

The results were so promising that both trials were stopped early to make sure all participants could benefit from the drugs.

Men enrolled in both studies had what's known as "metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers" -- tumors that had continued to grow and spread despite standard treatment aimed at lowering testosterone levels. (The male hormone testosterone is thought to feed prostate cancer).

The data were presented in San Francisco on Tuesday as part of the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, sponsored in part by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

According to ASCO, more than 241,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, and 28,000 men will die from the disease.

Prostate cancer often spreads to the bone, but one of the new drugs, called radium-223 chloride (Ra-223), improved survival and delayed cancer-related bone problems in men with advanced, spreading tumors, the researchers said. The first in a new class of prostate cancer medications, Ra-223 delivers bursts of radiation to the bone, targeting the tumor.

The study included 922 men with advanced prostate cancer that had spread to the bone. The men were randomly selected to receive either Ra-223 plus best supportive care or a placebo along with similar care. Supportive care was aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the cancer, including pain.

The new drug seemed to help, boosting survival to an average of 14 months compared with just over 11 months for those on the placebo. Additionally, the average time to the first bone-break, fracture or need for radiation or surgery was significantly delayed among men treated with the new drug compared to their counterparts who received
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