Prostate cancer patients who had not been helped by standard care just received another option. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the usage of Jevtana and prednisone to treat these patients.
In a study conducted earlier this year, researchers treated prostate cancer patients with Jevtana, a chemotherapy medicine produced by Sanofi-Aventis, and investigated the results. The patients who received treatment that included the drug lived for approximately ten more weeks than those who only received standard care. Moreover, these Jevtana patients were more likely to have their tumors decrease in size. Unfortunately, none of the participants in the study experienced a complete remission of the disease.
The combination of Jevtana and prednisone is the first chemotherapeutic treatment that prolongs the survival of men who are no longer being helped by regular medical care. Often used in cancer treatment, prednisone is a synthetic steroid that prevents inflammation. However, both the drug and the steroid have negative side effects. Serious side effects of Jevtana include white blood cell reduction, blood platelet level decrease, and kidney failure. Using prednisone can result in weight gain, high blood pressure, and steroid-induced diabetes. Consequently, patients need to consult with their doctors before using this treatment.
The effects of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of Jevtana are significant. "Patients have few therapeutic options in this disease setting," Richard Pazdur, the director of the FDA's Office of Oncology Drug Products, states. When standard hormone-deprivation treatments and docetaxel, the most commonly used drug to fight against prostate tumors, are not effective anymore, Jevtana gives prostate cancer patients an alternative.