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Men with metastatic prostate cancer living longer thanks to new meds

Written by | 23 Oct 2023 | Oncology

Survival rates for men with metastatic prostate cancer have increased by an average of six months, something which coincides with the gradual introduction of ‘dual treatment’ since 2016, according to a register study of all Swedish men diagnosed between 2008 and 2020. The results are published in the medical journal JAMA Network open.

Dual treatment means that patients receive both standard hormone therapy (GnRH therapy) and chemotherapy or androgen receptor blockers. Research has previously shown that men receiving this treatment live approximately one year longer than those receiving GnRH treatment alone.

This approach was gradually introduced in Sweden over several years and is now the recommended treatment under the Swedish national care programme for prostate cancer. Scientists at Uppsala University, Sweden, and San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, examined how this guideline change has shaped patient outcomes among men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in Sweden between 2008 and 2020.

The results showed that in 2016 only 1 percent of men at this stage received dual therapy, while 40 percent received it in 2020. The largest increase was among men aged under 65 and the smallest increase among men over 80.

The average survival rate among these men increased from 2.7 between 2008 and 2012 to 3.2 years in 2017–2020; equivalent to an increase of about six months. The biggest increase in survival was among men under 80. In the analysis, the researchers also took into account age and other diseases.

‘Although care should be taken when interpreting our results, we found a clear temporal association between the introduction of dual treatment and improved survival rates,’ said   Marcus Westerberg from the Department of Surgical Sciences at Uppsala University. ‘The study suggests that treatments that have been successful in randomised trials are also successful at the population level when introduced into routine care.’

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