The main trial, for the first time, has shown that pembrolizumab is an effective drug in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
Man holding a blue ribbon
The new experience offers hope for people suffering from advanced prostate cancer.
Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that can improve the immune system in the fight against cancer.
Inhibitors of checkpoints, in particular, are a type of medication that works by removing “brakes” from the immune system and releasing T cells to attack cancer cells.
Previous research has shown that immunotherapy is particularly effective in the treatment of cancer that has high levels of acquired genetic mutations, such as melanoma, lung cancer and bladder cancer.
In prostate cancer, however, previous tests have suggested that immune therapy does not work. But a new study examines the genetic makeup of prostate cancer tumors and shows that this approach excludes a group of patients who may already have treatment.
In fact, experience shows that 1 in 10 men who have failed in all other treatments has taken advantage of the pembrolizumab inhibitor, and many of these patients still show benefits after one year.
The experiment was conducted by researchers from the Cancer Research Institute in collaboration with staff of the Royal Marsden Foundation (NHS Foundation) in London and the United Kingdom.
The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held in Chicago, IL.
BRCA mutations are easier to identify
During this trial, the researchers administered pembrolizumab to 258 men with advanced prostate cancer.
Of these, 38 percent were alive for one year, and 11 percent continued to use drugs one year after the trial ended, with no signs of cancer progression.
Some of these patients experienced a great remission. For 5% of patients, the tumors became smaller or disappeared completely.