Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. Each year more than 1.2 million cases are diagnosed worldwide, and the disease causes more than 350,000 deaths annually. Initial treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormonal treatment. However, therapeutic options are limited if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body and develops resistance to hormonal therapy. In this context, during the ESMO Congress 2019, the results of a new treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer resistant to hormonal therapy have been presented. It is olaparib, a medicine that blocks a protein necessary for DNA repair.
Specifically, the PROfound study revealed that the progression of the disease was delayed around four months when olaparib was compared with hormonal therapy. Preliminary data also suggest an improvement in survival greater than three months.
In the words of Ignacio Durán, deputy of the Medical Oncology service of the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital of Santander, “the presentation of these results represents, without a doubt, very good news for patients with advanced prostate cancer. We are beginning to better characterize these tumors and realize that the presence of certain genetic alterations makes them vulnerable to certain therapies. ”
However, Eleni Efstathiou of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (United States) noted that while there is a tendency to improve survival, it is necessary to wait to complete the analysis of the data. “We should not ignore the significant adverse effects, such as anemia and nausea, which were more frequent with olaparib, since they can have a significant impact on the patient's ability to take the drug. In practice, patients will need to be monitored carefully, ”added the expert.
Finally, Eleni Efstathiou also pointed out that together, these data show that, as in breast and lung cancer, prostate cancer is not a single disease, but a variety of pathologies, and we need to start identifying the Different groups of patients and treat them with targeted therapies.