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Longer life expectancy, aging population necessitate new strategies for prostate cancer care
Date:12/4/2012

The population of the United States is getting older, due not only to aging boomers but also to a four-year increase in life expectancy from 1990 to 2010. An aging population means increased diagnosis of prostate cancer. Statistically, the older the patient at time of diagnosis, the more aggressive the disease and also the less well the patient is likely to tolerate traditional chemotherapies. In sum, we have more, aggressive prostate cancer that can't be targeted by traditional treatments.

Members of the University of Colorado Cancer Center recently published a review in the journal Drugs and Aging describing the modern state of prostate cancer care examining not only new drugs but entirely new classes of drugs that may be effective and well-tolerated in these aging patients.

"For patients with advanced prostate cancer, there are more options than ever before. But with more options comes a more complex decision tree in choosing appropriate therapies," says Elizabeth Kessler, MD, oncology fellow at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the review's lead author.

First among these options are targeted therapies. Modern targeted therapies are able to selectively kill cancer cells as opposed to accepting high collateral damage in healthy tissue and so frequently have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapies. (And are thus better tolerated by elderly patients.)

"These are drugs like abiraterone and enzalutamide that have been approved for use in late stage prostate cancer and are now being evaluated for earlier use," Kessler says. Prostate cancer generally depends on androgen hormones like testosterone to survive and grow even after traditional hormone blockade, the body continues to produce minute amounts of testosterone and even this little bit is enough to drive prostate cancer. By completely removing the body's ability to produce testosterone or the cancer's ability to use it, these drugs break the m
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Contact: Garth Sundem
garth.sundem@ucdenver.edu
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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