New treatment option for those with prostate cancer

by | June 20, 2018

This non-chemotherapy treatment option can help improve survival rates.


Pharmaceutical company Janssen’s Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) in combination with prednisone has been approved for the treatment of high-risk metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC). In Singapore, incidence of Stage 4 prostate cancer (includes metastatic prostate cancer) is about 25 to 30 percent.

While the majority of patients with mHSPC initially respond to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), it usually becomes less effective over time. Treatment using Zytiga offers new hope for patients with mHSPC as it is a difficult type of cancer to treat.

This is the first time a non-chemotherapy regimen has been shown to improve patient outcomes and increase overall survival in prostate cancer patients who have not received hormone therapy.

Clinical trials show that when Zytiga is used as part of a treatment regime:

  •  The risk of death is reduced by 38 percent (compared to the placebo).
  •  The risk of radiographic progression or death is reduced by 53 percent compared to placebo.
  •  There is an improvement in the pain progression of patients.

In addition to increasing overall survival, the clinical trials on Zytiga showed other significant improvements including delaying time to receiving subsequent therapy, chemotherapy, and delaying time to PSA progression and development of symptomatic skeletal events.

Dr Oliver Sartor, Laborde Professor of Cancer Research at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans welcomed the approval of Zytiga for use in treating mHSPC. “This approval means sufferers in Singapore with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer now have access to a treatment option that can improve their overall survival rate.

“It is particularly important in Singapore and other Asian countries as this is a non-chemotherapy treatment option. Chemotherapy tolerance among Asian patients is lower compared to Western countries,” he said. “This approval is good news for prostate cancer patients and their families as well as the medical practitioners treating them as it gives them an important new therapeutic option.”

Zytiga is already approved for use in treatment of advanced prostate cancer in Singapore. It works by inhibiting the production of male sex hormones in all three sites where they occur — the testes, the adrenal glands and the tumour itself. By reducing male sex hormone production in the body, Zytiga has been shown to reduce tumour activity. Zytiga is taken in combination with ADT and with prednisone or prednisolone.  

Among Singaporean men, the incidence of prostate cancer is rising faster than any other type of cancer. Between 1976 and 2015, the incidence rate has gone from 5.9 to 29.7 per 100,000 Singaporean men – an increase of more than 400 percent in 40 years. By comparison the rate of other cancers affecting men such as liver, lung and stomach fell during the same period.




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