Researchers at UC San Francisco have made a significant breakthrough in treating prostate cancer relapses.
In a comprehensive Phase 3 clinical trial, they discovered that using a mix of testosterone-blocking drugs is more effective in stopping cancer spread than using just one drug.
This finding is particularly important because prostate cancer is a major health issue. It affects 1 in 8 men and leads to 34,000 deaths annually in the United States.
Typically, testosterone-lowering drugs are used for treatment, but this new research suggests a more aggressive approach might be better.
Rahul Aggarwal, MD, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine and the study’s lead author, emphasized that this evidence supports the idea of more intense testosterone-blocking therapy for patients with high-risk prostate cancer.
The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on January 23, 2024, and first announced in September 2022.
The study focused on patients who underwent prostate cancer surgery but experienced a relapse, indicated by a rapid increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in their blood. From 2017 to 2022, 503 patients participated in the trial.
They were either given a single testosterone-lowering therapy or a combination of up to three different drugs. These additional drugs were already approved for other cancers but hadn’t been used this way for prostate cancer.
The patients underwent treatment for a year. Both single and combination therapies significantly reduced testosterone levels, which slowed down the cancer but also caused side effects like fatigue, hot flashes, and decreased libido.
However, those on combination therapy remained cancer-free for longer periods with low PSA levels.
Interestingly, once the treatment ended, testosterone levels in patients on combination therapy rebounded just as quickly as those on single-drug therapy.
The research team is now analyzing the data in more detail, looking into the side effects and overall recovery experiences of patients on different treatments.
Dr. Aggarwal highlighted the importance of rigorous standards for new cancer therapies. Based on the findings of this study, combination hormone therapy could become the standard care approach for patients with high-risk prostate cancer relapse after initial treatment.
If you care about prostate cancer, please read studies about 5 types of bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and new strategy to treat advanced prostate cancer.
For more information about cancer prevention, please see recent studies about nutrient in fish that can be a poison for cancer, and results showing this daily vitamin is critical to cancer prevention.
The research findings can be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
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