Two cancer drugs can stall the progression of a particularly hard-to-treat form of prostate cancer, a pair of new trials shows. Both a newly developed drug called apalutamide and an already approved drug called enzalutamide (Xtandi) kept prostate cancer from spreading for two years in men whose disease had not yet travelled to other parts of their bodies.
Men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer that hasn’t spread are first treated with androgen-deprivation therapy — a medication that robs the tumor of the testosterone that helps fuel its growth, said Dr. Matthew Smith, lead researcher of the apalutamide trial. He is director of the genitourinary malignancies program at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.“It always works, and it almost always stops working,” Smith said. “And when it stops working, that’s what we call castration-resistant prostate cancer.” Until now, there have been no approved treatments for prostate cancer at that stage, Smith said. The men are put under observation until their cancer migrates, at which point treatment resumes.