New Prostate Cancer Drug Promising in Early Trials

It’s early in the process, but researchers say early trials of a new drug for treating advanced prostate cancer are producing encouraging results.

Preliminary findings from Phase 1 and Phase 2 tests of the drug, called MDV3100, have shown treatment can reduce chemicals in the blood that indicate the presence of cancer. In the first study of 30 patients treated with the drug, 13 showed declines of the chemicals of more than 50 percent, said a team of researchers led by Charles L. Sawyers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

A Phase 3 trial, which will include more test subjects, must still be conducted before the drug can be approved.

MDV3100 is for prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or metastasized. Treatment of metastasized cancers commonly includes drugs that inhibit the activity of male hormones, which are responsible for powering tumor growth. However, some tumors are becoming increasingly resistant to the drugs.

MDV3100 is different in that it works by binding to receptors for the male hormones, which allows the hormones to retain their cancer-fighting abilities, researchers said.

Prostate cancer is the second-most common form of cancer among Americans, behind only skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 186,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year and about 28,660 men die annually due to the disease. About one in six American men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 35 will die from the disease.

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