New prostate cancer drug can extend life by 5 months

Updated: Aug 16, 2012, 13:21 PM IST

London: Scientists have discovered a new drug which they say can add an extra five months to life of men with advanced prostate cancer when chemotherapy fails.

British researchers found in trials that men taking the drug `enzalutamide` survived for more than 18 months compared with less than 14 months for those on a placebo, a newspaper reported.

Almost half of those receiving the new drug had a better quality of life.

Enzalutamide, which was developed by British scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden Hospital, in London, is one of four discoveries in the past two years that significantly extend life.

"Advanced prostate cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and it`s taken a massive co-ordinated effort to finally bring new drugs into the pipeline, after decades where there were no options once old-style hormone treatment stopped working," Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of the ICR, said.

In the study nearly 1,200 patients were given enzalutamide following chemotherapy. Survival for those taking the new drug was 18.4 months on average, compared with 13.6 months for those on a placebo.

About 43 per cent of men on enzalutamide reported an improved quality of life, compared with 18 per cent of the placebo group.

The drug could be licensed for use by British patients early next year. The cost is not yet known.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.