Metastatic prostate cancer is commonly known as stage IV cancer, widespread or advanced cancer. It occurs when cancer cells break away from the initial tumor, spread through the lymph vessels or bloodstream to other body parts, and form new tumors.
Treating metastatic prostate cancer requires a lot of care. Different doctors, including medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists, often work together to create an overall treatment plan for the patient. They combine different treatments that depend on several factors, including the cancer type, potential side effects, and the patient’s overall health and preferences.
The following general overview of the treatment options for metastatic prostate cancer will educate patients about the available cures and help them reach a shared decision with their doctor.
Newer Treatment Options for Metastatic Prostate Cancer
An androgen is a steroid hormone that regulates the growth and maintenance of male physiognomies by binding to androgen receptors found inside the cells (even cancerous cells) of the male reproductive tissue. Anti-androgens, also known as testosterone blockers, are drugs that prevent androgens like testosterone from affecting the body. They block the androgen receptor or suppress the production of androgen.
In the last quarter of 2020, the FDA approved new anti-androgen drugs. These medications can prevent prostate cancer tumors from growing in patients by decreasing their testosterone levels. Prostate cancer cells do not obtain the fuel required, resulting in cell starvation.
These new medicines include: • Apalutamide • Enzalutamide • Abiraterone Acetate
Enzalutamide and Apalutamide are androgen receptor inhibitors that work outside the cells. On the other hand, Abiraterone Acetate slows down the production of androgens inside the cells. Several pieces of research have shown that these drugs can delay cancer growth by many years in a lot of metastatic prostate cancer cases.
2. PARP Inhibitors
The recent successful development of PARP inhibitors for patients with DNA damage has improved personalized treatments for metastatic prostate cancer. PARP, short for Polyadenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose polymerase, is a nuclear enzyme that supports repairing single-strand DNA breaks. It blocks DNA damage response and plays a role in DNA repair, including the repair of damage from chemotherapy. In May 2020, Rucaparib and Olaparib, two new drugs, were fully approved by the FDA as treatment options for metastatic prostate cancer:
Olaparib was approved for patients with metastatic prostate cancer who suffer a continued growth of the disease, such as the spread during treatment with Enzalutamide and/or Abiraterone. It was also approved for patients with DNA-repair gene defects, which may be inherited or in the tumor since DNA-repair gene defects make it harder for cancer cells to repair damaged DNA. The FDA has also approved two specific tests for treatment with the drug to selected patients.
Rucaparib PARP inhibitor was approved to treat metastatic prostate cancer in patients whose disease has not been halted by the use of anti-androgens or chemotherapy and who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
Newer treatment options for metastatic prostate cancer continue to develop due to extensive research in the field. However, no one treatment option fits all in question. Consult the doctor, who will examine and diagnose the condition before recommending the use of anti-androgens or PARP inhibitors.
Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.