An Update on the PROfound Trial
In the last issue, we reported on PROfound, a trial investigating whether the drug olaparib can be used to treat advanced prostate cancer. Olaparib damages genes, leading to the death of cancer cells. It is currently used to treat ovarian cancer. The latest results from PROfound were announced in April. It was found that, compared to the hormone therapies abiraterone and enzalutamide, olaparib improves overall survival in men with advanced prostate cancer, who have stopped responding to hormone therapy, and who have changes in their DNA known as BRCA1/2 or ATM mutations. Mutations like these, which mean cancer cells struggle to fix faulty DNA, occur in approximately 20–30% of advanced, hormone-therapy-resistant prostate cancers. Scientists previously reported that using olaparib stopped cancer from getting worse for around four months and that men taking it spent less time in pain and may have lived longer. The companies who produce this drug are working with regulators to get it to patients as quickly as possible. It has now been approved for use in prostate cancer patients in US.