Prostate Problem Guide
A New Drug Can Extent The Life Of Some Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer
Largely as a result of an increasing effort towards health education more and more cases of prostate cancer are now being detected in their early stages. Unfortunately however all too many cases are still escaping detection until they have reached quite an advanced stage.
Advanced prostate cancer is prostate cancer that has spread outside of the prostate gland itself and is split into stage 3 cancer, where the disease has spread into the surrounding pelvic tissue, and stage 4 cancer, where the disease has spread (metastasized) into other areas of the body, often being spread through the lymphatic system.
Although it is not easy, stage 3 prostate cancer can sometimes be treated quite effectively and it is possible to cure prostate cancer while it is in stage 3. However, once the disease reaches stage 4 it becomes very difficult to cure and, while it is occasionally possible to cure stage 4 prostate cancer, treatment is normally aimed at managing the condition by slowing the progress of the disease and by providing the best possible quality of life for the patient.
Against this background, clinical trials have been studying the use of a new drug called Pertuzumab and results so far suggest that it may well extend the life of some men suffering from advanced prostate cancer.
Using a small study group advanced prostate cancer patients, the use of Pertuzumab was seen to stabilize the disease for differing periods of time and also to extend the 12 month survival rate of the group as a whole to 74%, which compares favorably to the expected survival rate without treatment of just 44%.
Pertuzumab is one of a number of monoclonal antibodies which are produced in a laboratory and are designed to seek out and bind with specific cells. For prostate cancer, Pertuzumab is designed to seek out and bind with a protein known as epidermal growth factor, which plays an important part in the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Monoclonal antibodies have been around for some time now and can either be used alone or to carry drugs or radioactive material directly to the site of a tumor. Individual antibodies are designed to look for specific cells and several monoclonal antibodies are already being used to treat cancers, while others are either under development or being evaluated in clinical trials.
The use of this type of molecular targeted therapy in the management of cancer patients in general is evolving rapidly and it is to be hoped that, with further development, this is set to become an effective form of treatment for advanced prostate cancer patients.