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New bone-targeting drug delays onset of metastases in hormone-resistant prostate cancer patients
Date:9/24/2011

Stockholm, Sweden: Inhibiting a protein involved in bone metabolism can delay the onset of the bone metastases which are common in men with a particular form of prostate cancer, a researcher will tell the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress [1] today (Sunday).

Professor Stphane Oudard, Head of the Oncology Department at the Georges Pompidou Hospital, Paris, France, says that his team's research on the effects of the monoclonal antibody denosumab (XGEVA TM) is the first large-scale clinical trial to show such an effect.

Up to 90% of men with prostate cancer that is resistant to hormone treatment will have their primary tumour metastasise to bone. The onset of such metastases means that the cancer is entering a chronic and, thereafter, a terminal phase, and this has major physical and psychological consequences for the patient.

"Being able to delay this turning point is therefore very significant. We have shown that the use of denosumab in this group of patients can impede the onset of bone metastases by just over four months," says Prof Oudard.

The drug works by inhibiting a protein called RANKL, which is key to the formation of osteoclasts. Unlike osteoblasts, which form bone, osteoclasts are involved in its destruction. If the formation of osteoclasts can be impeded, the bone will remain strong and can continue to hold out against the development of metastases.

The researchers enrolled 1432 men into the trial and randomised them into two groups one to receive the active drug and the other placebo. They were also encouraged to take calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone health. In July 2010 more than 660 of the patients had either developed bone metastases or had died. The trial was then unblinded and the results analysed.

"We found that denosumab prolonged bone metastasis-free survival significantly as compared with placebo, and that these results were consistent among different sub-
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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