A one-month supply of 120 pills of Zytiga costs $5,000, said Kelly McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., the drug's maker and a sponsor of the study.
"This study tells us that there is a form of hormonal therapy, abiraterone, that works in people who had standard hormonal therapy and chemotherapy," said prostate cancer expert Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of genitourinary radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
"It will provide people with late-stage disease with an opportunity for an extended survival that they didn't have before. I can't say it's a home run because it's only a few months improvement," he added.
Very aggressive prostate cancer may be able to make its own testosterone, which the cancer cells need to grow. "Zytiga blocks that," D'Amico explained.
"This drug provides longer life and better quality of life to men with very advanced prostate cancer," D'Amico said. "There are studies now to see if this drug will improve cure rates in men with advanced, but not metastatic [cancer that has spread to other organs], prostate cancer," he added.
For more on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Anthony D'Amico, M.D., Ph.D., chief, genitourinary radiation oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Kelly McLaughlin, spokeswoman, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., Horsham, Penn.; May 16, 2011, teleconference with Fred Saad, M.D., director of urologic oncology and professor of surgery/urology, University of Montreal, chief of urology at Notre-Dame Hospital, University of Montreal; May 16, 2011, presentation, American Urological Association annual meeting, Washington D.
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