Southampton researchers trial pioneering treatments to improve advanced prostate cancer survival

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Surgeons in Southampton are trialling two pioneering treatments for male patients with advanced prostate cancer.

In the UK 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Of those, three in 10 are already living with advanced cancer – where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Currently these patients are offered hormone therapy, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy, to treat the disease as previous research showed surgery is unlikely to benefit them.

However, new research suggests treating the prostate tumour, even in advanced cancer, could significantly improve survival. This latest study, known as ATLANTA, will test this new research by comparing current standard care with two pioneering prostate therapies not yet available in the NHS.

Cutting edge research

Patients who take part will be randomly assigning to one of three categories – focal therapy and standard care (targeted freezing to destroy the cancer), prostatectomy and standard care (surgery to remove the prostate), or standard care alone (for comparison).

“Previous research has indicated that the main cancer in the prostate can send growth signals to the cancer that has spread to other areas of the body,” explains Mr Tim Dudderidge, a urological cancer surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and study lead in Southampton.

“This means that surgery could not only remove the primary tumour but also slow down cancer growth overall by removing these signals.”

An initial pilot study will include 80 patients from Southampton and, if successful, a further 918 patients from across the South Coast could be involved.

“If this study shows a clear benefit of treating the primary tumour in patients with advanced prostate cancer, it could prove to be a real game changer, turning decades of knowledge on its head and potentially changing current practice and care to save more lives.”

Posted on Friday 6 September 2019