Prostate cancer drug Zytiga+prednisone has proved to be very effective. A study has found that a prostate cancer pill by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) significantly slows tumour growth, prevents pain and lengthens life. The pill is given after chemotherapy fails in patients suffering from prostate cancer.
The research was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago and it revealed that the Johnson and Johnson pill, called Zytiga, made patients gain at least 8 months before the cancer began its invasion of the body cells again.
Patients who had not undergone chemotherapy, and who had been treated with Zytiga were found to have gained at least 16 months before the cancer resumed spreading. This is twice the length of time of progression-free survival seen in those given steroids alone.
This is so good a finding that a safety monitoring board stopped the study in March and recommended all patients take Zytiga.
Charles Ryan, the lead researcher and an oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “Taking Zytiga earlier can help patients maintain their quality of life free of pain, reduce the need for chemotherapy and live longer.”
The American Cancer Society revealed that roughly 30,000 men in the U.S. die from advance prostate cancer each year. The society also revealed that patients generally live for about three years with the disease, and this makes about 100,000 men with prostate tumours looking for treatment. The second most common cause of death in this is malignancy.
Bruce Roth, a professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, explained that he has at least 100 patients who are putting off chemotherapy who could benefit from Zytiga. He said that many patients opt to delay chemotherapy in favour of a better quality of life before the chemotherapy with all its side effects like fatigue and neutropenia, a condition that increases the risk of infections, becomes inevitable.
Roth explained, “The pool of patients is very large. There are patients who are waiting for something, but not willing to take on the toxicity of chemotherapy and decrease their quality of life.”
Larry Biegelsen, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in New York, said that these recent findings could encourage doctors to start prescribing Zytiga even before it receives U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance for use preceding chemotherapy. Biegelson claims that the $525 million sales estimate for Zytiga in the U.S. this year can prove to be too low following the study and the sales estimates can climb up to $1.3 billion annually by 2015.
Michael Meyers, Johnson & Johnson’s compound development team leader for Zytiga informed that the firm is planning to request broader FDA approval in the second half of 2012. Meyers also informed that an analysis of the study involving 1,088 men with spreading disease that hasn’t yet caused severe symptoms, after patients have been followed for a longer period would be conducted.