Breakthrough prostate cancer therapy decreases the risk of cancer progression by 55%

According to the trial, this drug combination decreased the risk of cancer progression by 55%, compared to the standard treatments.

[June 26, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]

The 'game-changing' treatment uses electrical currents to destroy difficult to reach tumours. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

In a remarkable display of commitment to the battle against cancer, renowned oncologist Dr. Neeraj Agarwal, MD, FASCO, has steered the scientific world towards a significant breakthrough. A Presidential Endowed Chair of Cancer Research at the prestigious Huntsman Cancer Institute, Dr. Agarwal has attained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a novel prostate cancer treatment.

This groundbreaking achievement follows his landmark publication as the lead author in the respected medical journal, The Lancet, a feat unprecedented in the annals of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Pioneering a new era in prostate cancer treatment, Dr. Agarwal's new therapeutic regimen combines two potent cancer drugs, enzalutamide and talazoparib. As an established line of attack, enzalutamide is a typical medication used for prostate cancer. The novel element lies in the addition of talazoparib to the treatment plan, a move unheard of in the history of prostate cancer treatment.

A Phase 3 trial of this novel drug combination yielded impressive results. According to the trial, this drug combination decreased the risk of cancer progression by a remarkable 55%, compared to the standard treatment. The FDA's subsequent approval for this combination treatment stands as a testament to its potential efficacy for prostate cancer patients.

Related Stories

In reflecting on the profound implications of this achievement, Dr. Agarwal said, "Getting this therapy approved means improved outcomes for many people. It is validation of our unwavering commitment to create and improve cancer treatments and to relieve the suffering of our patients."

The potential impact of Dr. Agarwal's work resonates beyond the confines of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Colleagues around the globe, including Dr. Neli Ulrich, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, recognize its significance. "This work, led by Dr. Agarwal, with colleagues across the world is absolutely groundbreaking," she remarked, "It will make a big difference in treatment options for many prostate cancer patients.”

Prostate cancer's widespread prevalence underscores the importance of these research advances. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer among men in the United States.

Patients with HRR gene altercation status of non-deficient by prospective tumour tissue testing. (CREDIT: The Lancet)

Sachin Apte, MD, MS, MBA, Chief Clinical Officer at Huntsman Cancer Institute, praised Dr. Agarwal's achievement, saying, "Research at Huntsman Cancer Institute, led by Dr. Agarwal, has resulted in a major achievement in the treatment of patients with prostate cancer. This work demonstrates how the integration of clinical care and research directly translates into new treatment options for cancer patients."

Dr. Agarwal's laudable commitment to his profession is evident not just in his role as a leading researcher, but also as a clinician. As Senior Director for Clinical Research Translation, he supervises an array of early and advanced-phase clinical trials.

The Huntsman Cancer Institute is a hub of cancer research, hosting more than 250 research teams and offering over 200 clinical trials open to patients. For those seeking more information, or who may be interested in participating in a clinical trial, the Institute invites them to reach out to their Cancer Learning Center.

This landmark achievement by Dr. Agarwal and his team ushers in a new era of hope for prostate cancer patients. The innovative treatment plan's FDA approval is a beacon of light for countless patients, illuminating a path towards an improved quality of life and a more optimistic prognosis. As the science of cancer treatment continues to evolve, the pioneering work of dedicated professionals like Dr. Agarwal remains at the forefront of our collective battle against this devastating disease.

Symptoms of prostate cancer:

According to the Mayo Clinic urologist Mitchell Humphreys, M.D., prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages.

Prostate cancer that's more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating

  • Decreased force in the stream of urine

  • Blood in the urine

  • Blood in the semen

  • Bone pain

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Erectile dysfunction

Causes of prostate cancer:

According to Dr. Humphreys, it's not clear what causes prostate cancer.

The prostate gland is located just below the bladder in men and surrounds the top portion of the tube that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). (CREDIT: Getty Images)

Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate develop changes in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die.

Prostate gland: The prostate gland is located just below the bladder in men and surrounds the top portion of the tube that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). The prostate's primary function is to produce the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm (seminal fluid).

The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. In time, some abnormal cells can break away and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Risk factors for prostate cancer:

The Mayo Clinic considers the following factors to increase your risk of prostate cancer:

  • Older age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It's most common after age 50.

  • Race. For reasons not yet determined, Black people have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do people of other races. In Black people, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.

  • Family history. If a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.

  • Obesity. People who are obese may have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with people considered to have a healthy weight, though studies have had mixed results. In obese people, the cancer is more likely to be more aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.

Prevention of prostate cancer:

Dr. Humphreys believes that people can reduce their risk of prostate cancer if they:

  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health.

  • Whether you can prevent prostate cancer through diet has yet to be conclusively proved. But eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health.

  • Choose healthy foods over supplements. No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body.

  • Exercise most days of the week. Exercise improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. Try to exercise most days of the week. If you're new to exercise, start slow and work your way up to more exercise time each day.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss.

  • Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer. If you have a very high risk of prostate cancer, you and your doctor may consider medications or other treatments to reduce the risk. Some studies suggest that taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer. These drugs are used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss.

However, some evidence indicates that people taking these medications may have an increased risk of getting a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer). If you're concerned about your risk of developing prostate cancer, talk with your doctor.

Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.

Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.