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New hormone therapy could increase prostate cancer survival, study shows

Press release   •   Jan 31, 2014 09:00 GMT

Enzalutamide, a new life extending prostate cancer drug, could prolong survival for men with advanced prostate cancer and delay the need for chemotherapy for as long as 17 months according to new research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Conference.

A randomised control trial looked at 1717 men with metastatic prostate cancer for whom androgen therapy had failed but had not yet had chemotherapy. Results presented from the trial demonstrated that men taking enzalutamide experienced a 29 per cent reduction in risk of death and delayed the need to initiate chemotherapy by 17 months compared with placebo.

Enzalutamide is a type of hormone therapy for men with advanced prostate cancer. The drug is currently licensed in Europe for men whose prostate cancer has progressed after chemotherapy. This week, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended that the drug be made available on the NHS only for those men who have not been treated with abiraterone, the only other available non-chemotherapy drug for men with advanced prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer UK is challenging NICE’s draft decision in respect of the drug’s prescription after chemotherapy. NICE are yet to appraise the drug for use pre-chemotherapy.

Mikis Euripides, Director of Policy at Prostate Cancer UK said:

“Men with advanced prostate cancer desperately need more treatment options and these encouraging results suggest that enzalutamide could not only delay the need for men to go through the agony of chemotherapy but in fact increase overall survival. Enzalutamide is already licensed for those who’ve had chemotherapy but this trial will hopefully establish a robust base of evidence to demonstrate that it should be available beforehand.

This is good news but sadly won’t help the one man an hour who dies of prostate cancer at present. We need to see drugs like enzalutamide available sooner rather than later and so it’s a cruel twist that this study comes just days after NICE ruled out the drug for men who’ve have already had chemotherapy and the only other drug available at this stage – abiraterone. Men deserve better and so we’re fighting to encourage NICE to see sense and ensure all who need it can access it. This week we’ve seen 50,000 people come together as Men United to fight the injustices facing men with prostate cancer. NICE’s decision on enzalutamide demonstrates all too starkly why this movement is needed.’


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Notes to editors:

In a draft decision announced on Tuesday 28 January, NICE appraised the use of enzalutamide for the treatment of metastatic hormone relapsed prostate cancer previously treated with a docetaxel-containing regime

NICE’s full draft guidance is available on its website at http://guidance.nice.org.uk/TAG/354

Prostate Cancer UK is encouraging people affected by prostate cancer to respond to NICE’s consultation on this draft guidance. More information is available at www.prostatecanceruk.org/challengenice. NICE’s consultation will run until 18 February 2014.

A previous draft decision released in October 2013 did not limit the use of enzalutamide only to those men who had not previously been given abiraterone, however this second draft puts this restriction in place.

Additionally, in the first draft guidance, enzalutamide was only recommended for people whose disease has progressed during or after one docetaxel-containing chemotherapy regimen. This limitation has now been removed and it is now recommended for people whose disease has progressed during or after any number of docetaxel-containing chemotherapy regimens.

Enzalutamide was been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in November 2013 for men with advanced prostate cancer after chemotherapy.

About prostate cancer:
In the UK:
• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men
• Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year
• Every hour 1 man dies from prostate cancer.
• One in four Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

On 24th January 2014 Prostate Cancer UK launched a major new nationwide campaign named Men United v Prostate Cancer to address the injustices which surround prostate cancer.

Men United – The Facts:
• Men United v Prostate Cancer is our call for men to join together in a movement against the common enemy of prostate cancer. The aim is to build a united front of men against this disease. We want to get the message out about one of the UK’s biggest man killers, support men affected by it, and intensify the search for more reliable tests and treatments for the future.

  • Men are being asked to sign for Men United by visiting www.prostatecanceruk.org/menunited where they can also test their health knowledge by taking a quick quiz.