With more and more people being regularly tested for prostate cancer, many cancers are being found and treated while still in their earlier stages of development. As such, the focus in the medicinal field is now beginning to shift to how these early cancers can be prevented from developing into the disease and new treatments for prostate cancer in its initial stages.
Considering most men in their 60s are likely to have a microscopic form of prostate cancer, this shift is a significant step towards finding accurate ways to predict which cancers will stay indolent or active. Presently, treatment for early prostate cancer is not guaranteed to effectively eradicate the disease and there is a high unmet need for delaying progression to advanced cancer.
Head of Research at the Cancer Epidemiology & Intelligence Division of the Cancer Council in Victoria, Professor Giles, is currently running a huge project to identify what causes indolent cancers to become active. Although the Australian Breakthrough Cancer Study remains in progress, early releases of results have indicated factors such as balding, weight, and alcohol may have some impact.
While results continue to come out of this study, another recent publication by Professor Philip Sticker’s group confirms that robotic radical prostatectomy can increase chances of cancer clearance as opposed to open surgery. As a relatively new prostate cancer treatment, robotic radical prostatectomy has shown extensive positive results in many studies. In Professor Stricker’s cases, it was clear that the surgeon’s experience was a paramount factor in the success of surgical outcomes.
Aside from surgery, research into new medications for prostate cancer treatment has just found Xtandi may play a hand in reducing the risk of stage 1 prostate cancer developing further. According to the recent US study, when used with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), the Pfizer drug Xtandi reduced the chances of the cancer spreading by 71 per cent. With it taking around 37 months for the disease to spread to other parts of the body in patients who took both drugs, as opposed to around 15 months for patients on ADT alone. All data from this study is currently being reviewed by US and European regulators, but the Xtandi drug is currently approved for treatment of cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
As this shift in focus continues to inspire research into more effective treatment for early stage prostate cancer, prospects continue to remain encouraging for men afflicted with the disease.