Prostate Cancer UK welcomes new data from the STAMPEDE trial that clarifies there is no difference in overall survival offered by both treatments for men newly diagnosed with advanced disease, but now we want the option of earlier abiraterone made available to men who can’t have chemotherapy.

8 Sep 2017

New comparative data from the extensive STAMPEDE trial, which separately tested the earlier use of docetaxel and abiraterone for men with newly-diagnosed advanced prostate cancer and found that both treatments increase survival times, has proven both approaches to be equally beneficial.

Released today at the European Society of Medical Oncology congress (ESMO), the latest results showed that having docetaxel chemotherapy in combination with hormone therapy was similar to having abiraterone with hormone therapy, providing the possibility of additional months – and in some cases years – of survival, with a similar quality of life.

Current issues mean some men miss out on early abiraterone

Docetaxel is the cheaper of the two options and is the current standard of care for most men diagnosed with advanced disease in the UK. Yet there are some men with advanced prostate cancer who are unsuitable for chemotherapy, so access to earlier abiraterone instead is crucial for them. At the moment, abiraterone is only available to men with advanced disease after their cancer has become resistant to hormone therapy.

Abiraterone is being relicensed for use in men with newly diagnosed advanced prostate cancer, while the National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) are also preparing to appraise it. Both processes, though, will only focus on men newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with the most severe levels of the disease. This means that men newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that is less severe, but who are not suitable for chemotherapy, will miss out.

Licensing and appraisal ‘critical’ for men unsuitable for chemo

"Research into treatments for advanced prostate cancer has been making great strides in recent years, however there is still some uncertainty about which treatment sequences provide the maximum benefit," says Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK. 

"Today’s new analysis is important because it indicates that the current practice of combining hormone therapy with docetaxel is as effective at extending life as combining hormone therapy with abiraterone. This suggests that, for most men diagnosed with advanced disease, docetaxel plus hormone therapy will remain the first-choice treatment as it is already available and the more affordable option.  

"However, it is critical that those men with advanced prostate cancer who are not suitable for chemotherapy are also given the opportunity for life-extending treatment. We therefore want abiraterone in combination with hormone therapy to be licensed and appraised so that it can be made available to all men with newly diagnosed advanced prostate cancer – not just those with the most severe forms of the disease."

We're currently funding research to understand more about which treatments provide the most benefit to which men, so that in the future treatment decisions can be more tailored to the individual. Every man’s prostate cancer is different, which is why it is important to ensure the right treatments are available to the right men at the right time to get maximum benefit.

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