New treatments announced at the 1997 Endocrine Society Annual Meeting could help slow the rate of prostate cancer growth and improve the quality of life of those who have the disease.
Coleman Gross, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, reported on a study of the effect of high doses of calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, on prostate cancer patients. Calcitriol was administered to men who had recurrent disease after surgery or radiation. Calcitriol appeared to lessen the rate of increase of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), suggesting that the rate of prostate cancer growth was slowed. These results suggest that calcitriol and related drugs may have a future role in the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer.
Marina Cesana, MD, of Mediolanum Farmaceutici in Milan, Italy, discussed a study of avorelin in the treatment of prostate cancer patients. In the study, avorelin was given through a subcutaneous implant to patients with untreated prostate cancer. The results indicated that the drug acted as a potent antiandrogen, keeping testosterone levels suppressed for 6 to 7 months.