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Clinical Trial Offers Personalized Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

November 15, 2022

Patients with advanced prostate cancer at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport may need less treatment and experience fewer side effects through a new clinical trial that offers “personalized medicine” based on the specific biomarkers in their tumor.

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The usual treatment

When caught early, prostate cancer is typically very treatable. But, when it goes undetected and the cancer spreads beyond the prostate, the survival rate falls. “We categorize patients as low, intermediate or high risk. If the prostate cancer is trying to come out of the capsule of the prostate or if it’s invading structures near the prostate, that’s considered high risk," said Christopher Iannuzzi, MD, radiation oncologist and principal investigator for the clinical trial. High risk or advanced prostate cancer typically results in surgical removal of the prostate. However, if the patient isn't a candidate for surgery or doesn't want surgery, the standard treatment is hormone therapy - lowering testosterone levels - plus radiation. But when testosterone is suppressed for an extended period, there can be many unpleasant side effects, such as weight gain, fatigue and hot flashes.

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A customized approach

“Our new clinical trial is trying to see if men in this high-risk prostate cancer group need less therapy or more hormonal therapy,” said Dr. Ianuzzi. “We are trying to see if we can tailor the duration of treatment for these patients.” Participating in the national trial gives patients the opportunity for less treatment and fewer side effects, said Dr. Ianuzzi. Additionally, it allows doctors to intensify treatment if the disease is aggressive to have better cure rates.
“It's personalized medicine."