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PCF-Supported Researcher Dr. Chuck Ryan Focuses on New Prostate Cancer Drugs

April 4, 2012 -- Charles Ryan, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine and urology at University of California-San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented data results on agents used in the treatment of prostate and genitourinary cancers at the 103rd annual AACR conference.

According to Dr. Ryan and colleagues, patients with hormone refractory metastatic prostate cancer who were treated with androgen inhibitor abiraterone and had high baseline hormone levels had longer overall survival, compared with patients who had low hormone levels. For prostate cancer patients with metastatic disease, these data results may play an important role in the prediction of efficacy in precision therapies and will play a valuable role in future clinical trial designs. 

“We have identified that patients who have higher levels of androgen compared with those with lower levels have a better prognosis overall and a better prognosis when receiving abiraterone than patients with lower levels of androgens,” said Ryan. “Patients with low hormone levels seem to have a worse prognosis overall; however, they still benefitted significantly from receiving abiraterone as opposed to receiving placebo.”

Using Phase III clinical trial data to evaluate patients’ hormone levels, Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that trial results indicated that higher baseline hormone levels were associated with significantly higher overall survival in patients—regardless of initial treatment—compared with low baseline levels.

“Patients assigned to abiraterone who had high baseline levels of hormones had almost twice the overall survival compared with those with low levels of hormones assigned to placebo,” said Dr. Ryan. “We used to think that it was not necessary to measure hormone levels once they were below normal — that was in part due to the fact that we were using insensitive assays,” Ryan said. “However, now we know that they have prognostic and predictive significance and that physicians treating these patients should think about conducting hormone tests.”

Dr. Ryan is a Prostate Cancer Foundation supporter and mentor to Young Investigator Terence Friedlander, MD.

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