NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (TheStreet) -- Advanced prostate cancer patients that no longer respond to chemotherapy survived about four months longer after treatment with Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) experimental drug abiraterone compared to similar patients treated with a placebo, according to data from a phase III study presented Monday.
Johnson & Johnson announced top-line results from the positive study of abiraterone last month and said it was evaluating plans to seek the drug's approval. Detailed data, including the extent of abiraterone's survival benefit, were presented for the first time today at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) annual meeting.
The phase III study enrolled 1,195 prostate cancer patients, randomizing them to treatment with abiraterone plus the steroid prednisone or a placebo plus prednisone. All the patients in the study were diagnosed with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer whose tumors were no longer responding to hormonal therapy or chemotherapy, most notably the commonly used drug Taxotere.
Patients treated with abiraterone had a 35% reduction in the risk of death compared to patients treated with a placebo. The median overall survival in the abiraterone-treated patients was 14.8 months compared to 10.9 months for placebo patients -- a difference of just under four months favoring abiraterone.Abiraterone works by inhibiting the production of testosterone. Prostate cancer cells both produce testosterone and feed on testosterone produced in other parts of the body. Doctors typically treat prostate cancer patients initially with hormonal therapy to stop testosterone production and slow tumor growth, but most prostate cancers become resistant to these treatments and start to grow again. The study presented Monday used abiraterone in patients with prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy and chemotherapy -- so-called third-line patients. Johnson & Johnson is also studying the use of abiraterone earlier in patients who no longer respond to initial hormone therapy but who have not yet advanced to chemotherapy. These are similar patients to those eligible to receive Dendreon's (DNDN) prostate cancer therapy Provenge. Abiraterone's initial competition is likely to come from Sanofi-Aventis' (SNY) Jevtana, approved earlier this year for third-line prostate cancer patients. In its pivotal phase III study, Jevtana showed a median overall survival of 15.1 months for patients treated compared to 12.7 months for patients treated with another chemotherapy drug mitoxantrone.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV