Prostate Cancer in the News

New drugs, drinking coffee and prostate cancer in black men. PCR Research and Communications Intern, Poppy Wilson, updates us on some of the latest prostate cancer news.

CCS1477: A new drug hopes to keep hormone therapy working

Men with drug-resistant prostate cancer may benefit from a new treatment. CCS1477 is the first drug of its type being trialled in men whose advanced cancer doesn’t respond to, or has developed resistance to, existing hormone therapies. A study recently published in Cancer Discovery reported that CCS1477 works by binding to two proteins that control cancer genes. When CCS1477 binds, this blocks the proteins from attaching to these genes, meaning they can’t switch on the androgen receptor. This prevents the receptor from driving cancer growth. The researchers found this drug was able to stop tumour growth in mice and it is already in clinical trials for men with advanced prostate cancer. The hope is that this drug can be used in combination with current hormone therapy treatments, abiraterone and enzalutamide, and prevent or delay resistance to them.

New NHS prostate cancer treatment

A new treatment is now available on the NHS in England and Scotland for some people with prostate cancer. Previously, when prostate cancer no longer responded to standard hormone therapy, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), ADT was still given to the patient as a treatment because there was no alternative. The recent approval of darolutamide by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) means there is now an alternative. Prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow. Darolutamide works by stopping testosterone receptors found on the surfaces of cancer cells from switching on, which limits the cancer growth. Darolutamide in combination with ADT will now be an option for men whose cancer hasn’t spread outside of the prostate, but who aren’t responding to ADT and are at high risk of their cancer spreading in the future. In clinical trials, Darolutamide and ADT together increased the amount of time before secondary tumours developed and increased overall survival time of prostate cancer patients, compared to patients who took the hormone therapy alone.

Coffee and Prostate Cancer

You might have seen headlines connecting drinking lots of coffee to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. These headlines are based on a recent study from China Medical University. Researchers conducted a review on data from 16 studies completed in Europe, the United States and Japan investigating coffee and prostate cancer. Combining the data meant that altogether nearly 1.1 million participants were involved, of whom 57,732 developed prostate cancer. They found that drinking coffee may lower the risk of prostate cancer. Individuals who drank the most coffee had a 9% lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those drinking the least. The study also noted a 16% increase in survival chances for men with advanced disease who drank more coffee. However, the study found only a link between drinking coffee and prostate cancer. This link, by itself, does not mean that drinking coffee stops people from getting prostate cancer. There are many other unmeasured and uncontrolled factors involved. For instance, people who drink more coffee might be more active, which helps reduce prostate cancer risk.

Genetic basis for prostate cancer in black men

According to the largest and most ethnically diverse study ever carried out in prostate cancer, black men are more likely to have a number of genetic changes that increase their chance of prostate cancer than white or Asian men. Researchers, who were looking for genetic changes that increase the chance of prostate cancer, combined and reviewed data from 17 studies from across the world. Doing this, they successfully identified 86 such changes. Combining all known genetic risk factors, the team also created an overall genetic risk score to give men. Using this risk score, they found that Black men are twice as likely to have the genetic changes that increase their chances of prostate cancer. In the future we could use this risk score to pick out men who are at higher genetic risk and could benefit from earlier and more regular screening. Here at PCR, we hope work like this will help to reduce health inequalities.

Black men & treatment regret

Black men show more regret over localised prostate cancer treatment decisions than men of other races, according to a US study. The significant 2.5-fold increase in odds of expressing decision regret compared to non-black men may be partly explained by the higher distrust of the healthcare system and worries about masculinity reported by black men. Half of black men also did not know that race made them more susceptible to prostate cancer. Overall, regret was a relatively infrequent outcome among long-term survivors. However, as the study was carried out in individuals with localised prostate cancer, the results may differ for those with more advanced forms of prostate cancer. We welcome this research, which we hope will help to better prevent poorer outcomes in more at-risk populations, and hope to see more research happening into at-risk populations in the UK.

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