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Zytiga relieves bone pain associated with metastatic prostate cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) received expanded use approval to treat men with advanced prostate cancer last week. In addition to extending lives, a new study has found Zytiga also keeps men feeling better during their journey.

The study found that Zytiga and prednisone (steroid medication) offered better and faster pain relief than prednisone alone in men whose prostate cancer has spread to the bone. The medication also delayed the pain getting worse and bone-related events such as fractures in patients who had previously been treated with chemotherapy.

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Christopher J. Logothetis, MD, chair of the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is the corresponding author of this international study that involved just over 500 men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, which does not respond to hormonal therapy.

The gentlemen had all been treated with at least one round of chemotherapy, one of which was the drug known as docetaxel. The men were surveyed about the levels of bone pain they were experiencing and how this pain interfered with daily activities.

Researchers also tracked what they called skeletal-related events, which included fracture, spinal cord compression, radiation administered to relieve bone pain or bone surgery. Study members were followed for a median of 20.2 months.

Men who received Zytiga plus prednisone saw improvements in all areas compared with men who received prednisone only.

Researchers found:

  • Men who received the combination therapy reported more relief than did those receiving prednisone alone – 45 percent vs. 28.8 percent.
  • Those who took Zytiga also experienced faster relief – in 5.6 months compared to 13.7 months for those who took prednisone alone.
  • 60 percent of men taking both medications experienced pain relief to the point that function wasn't impacted vs. 38 percent of men taking only prednisone.
  • Median period of relief from pain intensity was longer for the Zytiga group – 4.2 vs. 2.1 months.
  • And the time until skeletal-related events occurred was also longer in the treated group – 25 months vs. 20.3 months

The authors concluded, “In patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer previously treated with docetaxel, abiraterone acetate and prednisone offer significant benefits compared with prednisone alone in terms of pain relief, delayed pain progression, and prevention of skeletal-related events.”

A month’s supply of 1000 mg of Zytiga, which is taken orally in four pills, costs about $6,100.

This research was published in the December issue of The Lancet Oncology. Janssen Biotech Inc. manufactures and distributes Zytiga. Janssen Research & Development and Janssen Global Services funded this research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 17, 2012
Last Updated:
December 19, 2012