Research shows improved options for prostate cancer patients

The trial indicates intermittent therapy works just as well and improves quality of life for patients, since they receive only one-third of the standard drug amount. The reduced dosage provides cost savings and reduces serious side effects.

“These results are potentially practice changing,” says Chris O’Callaghan (Community Health and Epidemiology), project coordinator at the NCIC Clinical Trials Group. The PR.7 trial is the largest and most definitive study reported to-date demonstrating that men with non-metastatic, recurrent prostate cancer who receive intermittent therapy in an attempt to preserve quality of life, live the same length of time.”

The standard treatment for prostate cancer has been continuous therapy using a costly drug known as an LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone) blocker to lower testosterone levels. Side effects of this treatment include impotence, insomnia, weight gain, loss of muscle mass and growth of breast tissue.

PR.7 trial database analysis continues with a focus on identifying other factors associated with the superior benefits observed in aspects of quality of life by some men. The goal is identifying those with the greatest potential to benefit from intermittent therapy.

Keyue Ding (Community Health and Epidemiology), senior biostatistician at the NCIC CTGF, worked on the trial with Dr. O’Callaghan in overseeing the conduct and analysis of this trial.

The research recently appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The NCIC CTG is a cancer clinical trials cooperative group that conducts phase I-III trials testing anti-cancer and supportive therapies across Canada and internationally. It is a national research program of the Canadian Cancer Society.

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