Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Men with untreatable prostate cancer could halt its spread and live longer

Men with untreatable prostate cancer could halt its spread and live longer

Such patients had experienced "an incredible response", he said.

This is the first time a trial has shown how immunotherapy can benefit men with prostate cancer, professor Johann de Bono, director of the Drug Development Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research said in a statement.

Nell Barrie from Cancer research United Kingdom states that the next course of action is to "find out how to tell which men will benefit from taking the drug".

Immunotherapy drugs work by stimulating the body's immune system so it can recognise and fight cancer.

Now, a new study led by The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London has found "amazing" results in those with prostate cancer. It is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells.

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Researchers found those with the best response had types of prostate cancer with "ultra-mutant cancer cells" which change their genetic make-up quickly.

Black men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) who received hormonal therapy with the adrenal inhibitor abiraterone had greater and longer-lasting responses compared with white men, according to the results of a late-breaking study (abstract LBA5009) presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held in Chicago June 1-5.

Data from some other cancer types, such as bowel, has similarly shown tumours with defects in DNA fix mutations are more susceptible to immunotherapy.

"Our examine has discovered that immunotherapy can profit a subset of males with superior, in any other case untreatable prostate most cancers, and these are most definitely to incorporate sufferers who've particular DNA restore mutations inside their tumours". Importantly, the medications only work for some patients.

"This is important as although immunotherapy is exciting, it can have severe side effects".

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"The challenges we now face are how to predict in advance who will benefit, and how to make immunotherapy work for more people".

Professor Bono concludes, "This new trial has found that testing for mutations in DNA fix genes could be a valuable marker of who will respond".

"It is a new arrow in the quiver for men with lethal prostate cancer, it's a big deal for these patients".

Research will now focus on identifying markers to help pick out the prostate cancer patients whose tumours are most likely to shrink after immunotherapy treatment.

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