A multi-center research project consisting of 72 top urinary cancer centers in China and abroad confirmed that a Chinese-developed prostate cancer drug can reduce mortality rates by 42 percent and reduce the risk of other cancerous developments by 56 percent.
The new treatment combining the drug Rezvilutamide and hormone therapy signifies that China has made great strides in innovative drug development and clinical research on prostate cancer, said Dr Ye Dingwei from Shanghai Cancer Center, which led the research project.
Prostate cancer is the No. 2 leading cancer for men in the world with the fifth highest mortality rate. Though the incidence rate of prostate cancer in China is lower than in Western countries, that rate has increased in recent years. There were 115,000 new cases in China in 2020.
However, the five-year survival rate of Chinese men with the disease is only 50 percent, while it is 98 percent in developed countries.
"Early screening is key for prostate cancer prevention and control. If detected in the early stages, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent based on data from 6,000 prostate cancer patients in our hospital. It is also the reason for the high survival rate for men in the West," Ye said. "About 70 percent of Chinese men with prostate cancer are already in the middle or terminal stage when diagnosed, missing the best opportunity for surgery."
"Such people can only receive traditional hormone therapy, which usually causes drug resistance and deteriorates quickly in one or two years among those who are hormone-sensitive. For these people, there are very limited alternative treatments."
Almost all popular prostate cancer treatment plans are based on Western countries' research. However, Chinese men have different features, so doctors are looking for therapies more attuned to Chinese men with terminal prostate cancer.
This research targets Rezvilutamide, a domestically made drug that is more in line with Chinese men afflicted with the disease.
Ye's team coordinated with experts from 72 medical centers, including 22 from Europe, to carry out clinical trials on 654 men, 90 percent of whom are Chinese, and study a new combination of Rezvilutamide and hormone treatment.
"We saw very promising results as both the risk of death and other cancerous development risks dropped significantly. It is an entirely new 'Chinese scheme.' It enables those with prostate cancer to survive longer with safer drugs," he said.
In addition to boosting drug and clinical development, medical experts reiterated the importance of early and regular screenings.
"A yearly screening of biomarkers in the blood is enough for prostate cancer detection. Early detection ensures early intervention and better treatment results," Ye said.
The research was published by the world-leading journal Lancet Oncology on Tuesday.