When found early, prostate cancer has a very good survival rate. However, if it has spread outside of the prostate, survival rates are much lower. A new treatment is now available for these men after years of research and development in clinical research trials.
Today, patients with advanced prostate cancer have access to a new therapy option that provides hope for a longer, fuller life.
Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treatment Options Until Now
There are currently several treatment options available to men with advanced prostate cancer such as:
- Hormone therapy which blocks the production of testosterone. This can be accomplished with drugs or by surgically removing the testicles. The effects of this approach can include a lowered sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and several symptoms of menopause such as breast tenderness, hot flashes, weight gain, and brain fog. Surgically removing the testicles can also cause body image issues. Some men elect to have a prosthetic put in place. For those who don’t, body image issues can be difficult to deal with.
- Bisphosphonates for prostate cancer that has grown into the bones can relieve pain and slow the growth of the cancer cells. However, the side effects of this type of treatment include nausea and diarrhea as well as possible kidney problems and even potential damage to the jaw bone which can lead to tooth loss.
- Chemotherapy can often be effective for advanced cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy or if the cancer biology is very aggressive but it can be very toxic, including side effects such as nausea, poor appetite, weight loss, hair loss, and fatigue.
These treatments are typically only recommended for men when other treatments have failed or the cancer has returned. But because some of the treatment side effects can be significant, some men have declined further treatment. Thanks to clinical research, a new option is available that can help these patients.
Pluvicto: The New Treatment Option for Advanced Prostate Cancer
The biggest breakthrough in advanced prostate cancer treatment since the 1980s, this newly released therapy is called 177 lutetium-PSMA-617 (trade name Pluvicto™). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved its use with certain advanced prostate cancer patients.
Clinical trials were conducted with actual prostate cancer patients under the careful watch of cancer researchers. They determined this is a safe and effective treatment for some men with advanced prostate cancer. From there, the data was submitted to the FDA for review and approval.
PSMA treatment is given in the cancer center every six weeks. Patients go to the infusion room where other IV cancer treatments are given.
Which Men Qualify for Treatment with Pluvicto?
Unfortunately, not every case of prostate cancer is a good candidate for treatment. There are some general requirements that should be met so that men can understand if they qualify for the treatment. These qualifications include men who have:
- Advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer that has developed in the prostate gland and has spread outside of the prostate.
- Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.
- Developed cancers that are resistant to hormonal therapy.
- Cancer that has progressed after treatment with taxane-based chemotherapy.
If you meet these criteria, talk with your oncologist about the possibility of treatment with Pluvicto™. Studies have already begun to test Pluvicto's effectiveness on men whose prostate cancer is in earlier stages, and its use in combination with immunotherapy treatments.
How Pluvicto Identifies Cancer Cells Outside the Prostate
Nearly all prostate cancer cells have a protein called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which doesn't exist in normal tissue. Pylarify®, is a tracing agent that finds and attaches to the PSMA protein on the cancer cell’s surface. When Pylarify® binds to the cancer cell, it can be detected on a PET or CT scan.
Identifying the PSMA protein provides an exceptionally precise target for Pluvicto™. PSMA’s presence on cancer cells allows your doctor to see the prostate cancer on PET or CT scans. Pluvicto™ is injected into the bloodstream, enabling it to reach cancer cells throughout the body, even in bone or soft tissues. As a targeted therapy, the radiation in Pluvicto™ hones into and binds to the cancer, delivering precise doses of radiation directly to the tumors. Pluvicto's™ radioactive molecules accumulate in cancerous tumors, not in healthy tissue. When the cancer cells take up the radiation they die.
Pluvicto™ is a unique type of therapy that can destroy tumors. It is not a drug or hormone used to slow the growth of cancer, like other types of targeted therapies
What are the Side Effects of PSMA Therapy for Prostate Cancer?
The targeted radiation in Pluvicto™ travels only a short distance outside the cancer cells, leaving surrounding healthy tissue largely unaffected. Because of this unique precision, there are very few side effects. Compared to chemotherapy, Pluvicto™ causes only modest side effects, but not in all men. The most common side effects include fatigue, loss of appetite, or dry mouth. If there is a drop in red and white blood cell counts, the patient may be prescribed a lower dose.
Patients who had low blood counts or kidney issues – especially renal obstruction – prior to therapy may be less suitable for the drug. Patients with incontinence need to be closely monitored while taking Pluvicto™.
Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers Now Offers PSMA to Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients in Colorado
Now available at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, this new treatment category brings hope to men whose prostate cancer continues to progress after undergoing other treatments. If you have already completed prostate cancer treatment without success, request a consultation with one of our prostate cancer specialists for details about options that may be available to you.