Hormone drug boost for advanced cancer

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THE treatment of advanced prostate cancer could be set to change after the early publication of significant new trial results.

Doctors testing the pioneering hormone drug abiraterone found it doubled the time taken for the disease to progress in men not yet on chemotherapy.

Abiraterone is already approved as a “last resort” treatment for prostate cancer that has stopped responding both to hormone therapies and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel.

The new findings mean that in future it might be made available to a much larger group of patients.

Scientists halted the trial after an interim check in December last year found that men unknowingly taking abiraterone were doing much better than “control” patients not receiving the drug. The trial had been running for about a year.

For ethical reasons, all the 1,088 participants are now being treated with abiraterone.

Prostate cancer not cured by surgery or radiotherapy is generally treated with therapies that stop tumour growth being fuelled by the male hormone testosterone.