According to the researchers, patients with bone metastases have an almost five times higher risk of death compared with patients without bone metastases. "Effective therapies are already in place for both early (hormone-sensitive) and advanced (hormone-resistant) prostate cancer, but until now there was a gap in the treatment plan for this group of patients, who are hormone-resistant but have not yet developed metastatic disease," says Prof Oudard.
The trial showed that the adverse effects of the drug were limited, being relatively similar between both the denosumab and the placebo groups. Low blood calcium levels and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a deterioration of the jawbone, were slightly more frequent in the denosumab group, and back pain was the most commonly reported adverse effect in this group.
"Bone is one of the most common places for cancer to spread, and we believe that it is a very fertile environment for tumour cells," says Prof Oudard. "When cancer spreads to bone, the tumour cells settle in their new micro-environment and continue to grow. Once established, they increase the breakdown of bone, which releases an excess of growth factors back into the blood stream, which then further stimulate tumour growth."
Patients with bone metastases face critical complications. Often the first symptom is pain, which can be severe and debilitating in the majority of patients. Growth of the tumour in the bone weakens the bone itself and puts the patients at risk for serious skeletal-relat
|Contact: Mary Rice|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation