Like breast cancer, prostate cancer is often driven by hormones. Doctors frequently use hormone-suppressing drugs such as enzalutamide (Xtandi) or leuprolide (Lupron) to treat this condition. Could immunotherapy help men with prostate cancer?
Immunotherapy and Prostate Cancer:
Until recently, immunotherapy has not been considered particularly effective against prostate cancer. But now British researchers report impressive early results for some men who received the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to treat advanced prostate cancer. About ten to 15 percent of the volunteers did extremely well on this treatment, while the rest of them didn’t benefit very much at all.
Tumors shrank in only about 5 percent of the participants. Those who responded best have tumors with mutations in their DNA repair mechanisms. The researchers consider this an important advance even if it only benefits a minority of patients. They presented their findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, June, 2018. They are already working to figure out how to identify which men will benefit from immunotherapy.