New Drug May Help Prostate Cancer Cases
A new drug for treating advanced prostate cancer enables victims to avoid castration and maintain their sexual drive, a University of Chicago researcher said Thursday.
The drug, Casodex, is produced by Imperial Chemical Industries, Bloomington, Del., and is in its second phase of clinical testing, Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang said.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with it,” Vogelzang said. “I was quite skeptical.”
Vogelzang, a cancer specialist, and his partner, Dr. Gerald Chodak, a urologist, have been working with the drug for more than a year and are seeking volunteers for a follow-up study. Vogelzang said the drug appears to help about 70% of patients treated--the same average as other forms of treatment--without causing impotence.
“Prostate cancer comes in different stages,” Vogelzang said. “If localized, treatment is radiation or surgery. If it has spread to the lymph nodes, we use radiation or hormone therapy.
“When the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes, almost all patients will have it in their bones. Until now the only treatment for that has been castration.”
Vogelzang said hormone therapy usually involves giving male patients female hormones, leading to impotence and breast growth. He said the only side-effect of Casodex he has seen is some breast tenderness in patients, but he said the problem was not nearly as severe as the breast swelling caused by other treatments.