New prostate cancer treatments could reach men sooner

22 Feb 2024

A new study from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL shows that better prostate cancer treatments could reach men almost two years sooner than is currently possible.

Currently, it takes around 10 years for new treatments to be studied in large-scale trials. However, the new research showed that the length of time a man lives without his cancer progressing – known as progression-free survival – reasonably predicts how long he will eventually live (‘overall survival’).

As progression-free survival can usually be assessed around two years earlier than overall survival, using it in future trials could make them shorter. This would mean new treatments could reach men with advanced prostate cancer safely, but more quickly than they do now. 

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, on behalf of the STOPCAP Collaboration, reviewed data from over 8,500 men with prostate cancer in nine different clinical trials

Professor Jayne Tierney, the MRC CTU at UCL’s meta-analysis lead, who was involved in the research, said: “This is a clear example of how the STOPCAP worldwide collaborative effort to share and re-use the valuable data from existing clinical trials can reap rewards for future patients.”

The team is now working to determine whether other earlier measures of prostate cancer control could be used to predict overall survival, which could shorten the length of time needed for clinical trials even further.

This research was funded jointly by Prostate Cancer UK and the Prostrate Cancer Foundation and supported by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL and Duke University, Durham, USA.

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