The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended enzalutamide (Xtandi) as an option for treating advanced prostate cancer, writes MedicalBrief.
Enzalutamide, which can be taken at home without intravenous medication, is especially beneficial to those who cannot have chemotherapy. It will be made available through the NHS to eligible men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Men in Scotland will have access to a similar treatment called abiraterone.
It is manufactured by Astellas Pharma, partnered with Pfizer, and is one of the top-selling pharmaceutical products in the world, bringing in over $4bn in sales in 2020, well ahead of rival prostate cancer option Erleada (apalutamide), from Johnson & Johnson.
Xtandi is backed by positive Phase III data from the ARCHES trial, which showed the therapy significantly reduced the risk of metastatic progression or death. Compared with placebo and in combination with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), the treatment led to a 61% reduction.
The Guardian reports that enzalutamide, which patients can take at home or a medical setting, is one of the “Covid-friendly” cancer drugs adopted by NHS England during the pandemic as “swaps” for existing drugs because they are less likely to damage the immune system or cause hospital visits.
The drug can be used with androgen deprivation therapy as an option for treating hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer in adults, according to the guidance.
It works by blocking the impact of testosterone on prostate cancer cells. Without the hormone, the cells cannot grow – even if they have spread to other parts of the body.
Angela Culhane, the chief executive at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This is fantastic news for thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer, especially those who have additional illnesses that make them unsuitable for chemotherapy.
“It finally guarantees them access to a treatment which is just as effective as chemotherapy and can give them back precious time with their families.”
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