Immune System drug shows 'spectacular' results for Prostate Cancer patients

06 June, 2018, 16:34 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Jeff Stelling promotes Prostate Cancer UK's Men United campaign

We have several patients who have had a complete response.

"In the last few years immunotherapy has changed the way we treat many advanced cancers - but up to now no one had demonstrated a benefit in men with prostate cancer".

The world's leading expert on prostate cancer Professor Johann de Bono from the Institute of cancer research said: "We hope for a revolutionary cure, but they can't call it".

Further trials will be needed before the drug, already licensed for certain types of skin cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma, is approved for routine clinical use in prostate cancer.

Two years ago, he was given the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab.

"The next step will be to find out how to tell which men will benefit from taking this drug".

The trial of 258 men with advanced prostate cancer found they lived much longer when treated with "checkpoint inhibitor" pembrolizumab. The drugs alter the body's immune system that focuses directly on tackling cancer.

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Nonetheless, for sufferers reminiscent of these within the new examine with docetaxel-refractory metastatic castration-resistant prostate most cancers, there may be at present no efficient therapy.

The team at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London said the results were "spectacular" and a "big deal".

While only 5% of men in the trial saw their tumours shrink or disappear after treatment, many of those had mutations in genes involved in repairing DNA in their tumours. It is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells. It seems to work incredibly well for a handful of patients, have a temporary effect in others, and do nothing for the rest.

"This is important as although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects". More white patients than black patients had no PSA decline.

The researchers also said that some of the patients who had substantial responses to the treatment have tumors that may have mutations in the genes that control DNA fix, an important cellular process that maintains the genome.

New prostate cancer drug Keytruda showed promising results in the first major clinical trial to test immunotherapy in some men with advanced prostate cancer. However, the researchers discovered that the latest trial will not be able to help majority of men and only a particular group of patients may only be able to benefit from this treatment based on the genetics of the tumours.


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