An experimental cancer drug shrank prostate tumors dramatically and more than doubled survival in 70% to 80% of patients with aggressive cancers, British researchers reported today. Although the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology covered only 21 patients, the drug is now being tested in more than 250 men with what appears to be similar results, experts said.
"There is a general sense in the prostate cancer community that this agent is extremely promising and is very likely to have an important role in the management of prostate cancer patients," said Dr. Howard Sandler, a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan who is a spokesman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Experts expect the new drug, called abiraterone, to be widely available by 2011. It could find use among most of the 28,000 U.S. men diagnosed each year with the most aggressive and almost always fatal type of prostate cancer.