By Kay Quinn, Healthbeat Reporter
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A new combination drug therapy is helping some men whose prostate cancer has spread.
"This is really a very powerful signal that we now may be on the cusp of a new form of hormone therapy," says Dr. Gerald Andriole, urologist at Siteman Cancer Center.
It's the buzz among many urologists.
In a study published last month, men whose prostate cancer had spread were given conventional hormone treatment plus a drug call Zytiga.
Later on, the patients had their prostates surgically removed and biopsied.
"And in some respects, the pathologists couldn't find any prostate cancer left," says Dr. Andriole.
Doctors think the new therapy works by killing more of the cancer cells left behind even after standard drugs are given. But it's not a cure.
"We could never completely get rid of the male hormone," says Dr. Andriole. "There was always a little bit of the hormone continuously stimulating the cancer."
Still, patients in the research trial did so well on the combination treatment that doctors stopped the study early and offered the therapy to the men who'd been taking a placebo.
"So I would say what this treatment is apt to do is to prolong the period of time that we can control the growth of the cancer," says Dr. Andriole. "But eventually the cancer will come back."