Prostate cancer vaccines more potent with hormone therapy

July 10th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 10 (IANS) Here’s another disease where hormone therapy helps. A study has found that use of the therapy in prostate cancer helped the body target malignant cells more aggressively, besides ensuring a better immune response. The use of hormone therapy after vaccine treatment improved overall survival among such patients, compared with either treatment alone or when such an order was reversed.

“Vaccines, if and when they are approved, can be safely and effectively combined with other therapies, including hormones,” said Philip M. Arlen of National Cancer Institute, who led the study.

Arlen and colleagues enrolled 42 patients who had prostate cancer. They were randomly assigned to receive either a poxvirus-based prostate-specific antigen vaccine or hormone therapy with nilutamide.

For all the enrolled patients, the three-year survival probability was 71 percent and the median overall survival was 4.4 years.

Patients randomised to the vaccine had a three-year survival probability of 81 percent and an overall survival of 5.1 years, while patients taking nilutamide had a three-year survival probability of 62 percent and an overall survival of 3.4 years.

Building on the results of this phase II study, researchers have developed another generation of this vaccine by adding molecules that boost T-cell responses.

Based on the current pace of vaccine research overall, Arlen predicted that men with prostate cancer could potentially see an effective, new treatment vaccine within the next several years.

These findings are scheduled for publication in the July 15 edition of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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