This section contains the latest highlighted research for patients from ASCO medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as an archive of research highlights from previous ASCO scientific meetings (2011-2015). For the latest research highlights from more recent ASCO meetings, visit the Cancer.Net Blog or check out Cancer.Net’s audio podcasts and videos for patients.
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Results from a new study show that the medication enzalutamide (Xtandi) lengthens the lives of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer by almost a third. Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is cancer that has spread to parts of the body other than the prostate and continues to grow and spread without needing the male sex hormone testosterone. Enzalutamide is a type of hormone therapy called an androgen-receptor blocker or an anti-androgen. For men with prostate cancer, hormone therapy is used to block or lower the levels of hormones called androgens that can be involved in prostate cancer growth.
Updated results from a clinical trial conducted in Norway and Sweden show that adding radiation therapy to ongoing oral anti-androgen therapy, a type of hormone therapy, more than halved the rate of deaths from locally advanced prostate cancer, compared to ongoing oral anti-androgen therapy given without radiation therapy. For men with prostate cancer, hormone therapy is used to block or lower the levels of hormones called androgens that can be involved in prostate cancer growth. Locally advanced prostate cancer is when the disease has grown through the capsule, the tissue that covers most of the prostate. When this study first began, surgery was not a standard treatment for this type of prostate cancer, and surgery is still not often used because it can be difficult to remove all of the cancer. Radiation therapy (the use of x-rays to kill cancer cells) is often a good option because it can be directed at tissue beyond the prostate to kill cells outside the capsule.
Overall, patients taking ASIs lived about 27 months, compared with 17 months for those who were not taking an ASI. In addition, patients taking ASIs were more likely to have the cancer shrink. Researchers also compared ASIs to other types of medications for high blood pressure, finding that patients taking other types of medications for high blood pressure lived about 18 months. Researchers also found that patients taking a type of cancer treatment known as VEGF therapy had a greater benefit when ASIs were combined with cancer treatment. VEGF therapy, such as sunitinib, sorafenib, axitinib, and bevacizumab also affects the process of angiogenesis, which may mean that an ASI works along with the VEGF therapy to better block the formation of blood vessels that feed cancer growth.
In a new analysis of cancer clinical trials for adults registered on Clinicaltrials.gov, researchers found that about 20% never finish for reasons unrelated to how well the treatment or procedure being studied works or the side effects it causes. Poor accrual was the most common reason for a clinical trial to not finish. Accrual is the term commonly used to describe the process of placing patients in the clinical trial. Basically, poor accrual means that not enough people volunteered for the clinical trial.