Results from a new late-stage trial could be good news for men with early localized prostate cancer, as researchers say they have a treatment that can kill the cancer without removing or destroying the prostate.
The non-surgical treatment utilizes WST11, a light-sensitive drug derived from bacteria found at the bottom of the ocean, and is called padeliporfin vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP). In the procedure, the drug is activated with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate, essentially killing the cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue.
The phase III trial, led by Mark Emberton, MD, of University College, London, included 413 low-risk prostate cancer patients. Of those, 49% of participants treated with WST11 went into complete remission, compared with 13.5% who received no treatment.
“There are many approaches being developed for early low-risk prostate cancer. Padeliporfin vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy is one such promising approach. High-intensity focal therapy, cryotherapy, focal MRI-directed laser ablation, new radiation techniques, and electoporation are some other potential focal therapy options that have been described,” Leonard G. Gomella, MD, of Jefferson Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, told Urology Times.
The trial involved 47 treatment sites from 10 different European countries, most of which were performing VTP for the first time.
The results, published online in The Lancet Oncology (Dec. 19, 2016), further showed only 6% of patients treated with VTP required radical therapy compared with 30% of patients in the control arm who were under active surveillance. The authors said the odds of cancer progressing to a more dangerous stage were three times lower for patients on VTP, with the treatment doubling the average time to progression from 14 months to 28 months.