News from Illinois CancerCare

Breakthrough Drug Stalls the Spread of Hard-to-Treat Prostate Cancer

The physicians and staff at Illinois CancerCare are excited to share results that a new drug, apalutamide, can halt the spread of a tough-to-treat form of prostate cancer and has been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Until now, there have been no approved treatments for non-metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer. Further studies have also been done for this type of prostate cancer with the drug enzalutamide and have shown promising success. Results of the apalutamide and enzalutamide studies, further illustrate why Illinois CancerCare invests significant resources into clinical trials and research. It is because of participation in clinical trials such as this, that treatment options are expanded, offering cutting edge care close to home.

Many early-stage prostate cancers need normal levels of testosterone to grow. So the first line of treatment is usually androgen-deprivation therapy – a hormonal therapy that robs the tumor of the testosterone it needs to grow. But this treatment doesn’t work for “castration-resistant” prostate cancers. Apalutamide, an oral drug, has shown breakthrough effectiveness in keeping castration-resistant prostate cancer from spreading, for up to 40 months, in men whose disease hadn’t yet traveled to other parts of their body. Apalutamide works by blocking the effect of androgens, a type of hormone, on the tumor. These androgens, such as testosterone, can fuel tumor growth. Findings were echoed in results concluded from an enzalutamide study using a different oral drug. Both studies targeted same patients with castration resistant, non-metastatic prostate cancer patients.

About Prostate Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men in the U.S. The NCI estimates approximately 161,360 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, and 26,730 were expected to die of the disease.

Up to 20 percent of prostate cancer cases are considered castration-resistant, and up to 16 percent of these patients show no evidence the cancer has spread at the time of their diagnosis.

In clinical trials of Apalutamide, men taking the drug had a 72 percent lower risk of invasive cancer or death, based on results from more than 1,200 patients at 322 sites in 26 countries, the study found.

In a first for cancer drugs, the FDA based its approval of Apalutamide not on overall survival results, but on how long patients survived without their cancer spreading.

About Illinois CancerCare

Illinois CancerCare is one of the largest practices in the state of Illinois that treats patients with cancer and blood diseases. It provides state of the art treatments to its patients against these complex diseases by staying at the leading edge of clinical research. As we strive to offer our patients personalized treatment plans, we are excited to offer Apalutamide as a new treatment for our non-metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer patients.

Illinois CancerCare is central Illinois’ largest network of cancer care specialists with approximately 100 open clinical cancer research trials being conducted at any given time. The group has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest national standards for quality cancer care. Illinois CancerCare serves patients with 12 clinic locations throughout central and western Illinois including Bloomington/Normal, Canton, Carthage, Eureka, Galesburg, Kewanee, Macomb, Ottawa, Pekin, Peoria, Peru and Princeton. For further information please visit