The Urology Group
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September 29, 2017

Life-extending Treatment Particularly Effective for African-American Men

By: Gary Kirsh

Before the clock officially runs out on Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, it’s important to raise awareness of a life-extending treatment for advanced prostate cancer that is particularly beneficial for African-American men.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in African- American men, representing 31 percent of all cancers in these men, according to the American Cancer Society.

It’s vital to get the word out that an FDA-approved immunotherapy has been shown to provide an additional overall survival benefit of 9.3 months for African-American men compared to Caucasian men for those suffering from advanced prostate cancer that has become resistant to first-line therapy.

Prostate cancer is considered advanced if it has spread outside the prostate to other parts of the body. First-line therapy consists of medication that blocks the man’s production of testosterone (hormone therapy), since testosterone feeds the growth of prostate cancer.

The numbers tell the story about men who received immunotherapy in a real-world treatment setting. They show how men with advanced prostate cancer benefitted. Life was extended by 37.3 months for African American men and for 28 months for Caucasian men.

When African-American men with advanced prostate cancer are identified at the earliest possible stage that they begin to fail hormone therapy, the benefits of immunotherapy are significantly greater: 54.3 months for African-American patients versus 33.4 months for Caucasian patients. These compelling immunotherapy results were delivered at this year’s annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

Immunotherapy works by activating a patient’s own immune system to seek out and attack prostate cancer. Fortunately, the immunotherapy news is good for all men, not just African-Americans.

The major finding at the AUA meeting was that men — Caucasian, African-American and others — with advanced prostate cancer who received immunotherapy lived an average of 2.5 years longer than men who did not receive the treatment. The FDA-approved immunotherapy treatment is called Provenge. 

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