discovered by Charles Sawyers and was previously known as MDV3100. It is an
androgen receptor antagonist medicine developed by Medivation pharmaceutical
About 89 percent of
improvement in prostate cancer has been reported by administering enzalutamide
for a month.
According to a recent
clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine 2012, it was
discovered that the drug administration increases the life by approximately
five months in the advanced stages of prostate cancer.
co-author and MD, medical director of the University of Colorado Cancer
Center's Clinical Investigations, said, "This is a major advance. Not only do
we see more survival benefit than from traditional chemotherapy, but the side
effects of Enzalutamide are much lower. It provides both more benefit and less
harm -- you get the quantification of more life, but also see quality of life
This study is
popularly known by the acronym AFFIRM. About 1100 volunteers with prostate
cancer were enrolled for the study. Both chemotherapy and hormonal treatments
were done but no actual relief was obtained.
The single dose
therapy acts by inhibiting the ability of prostate cancer to release its own
androgens. The androgens such as testosterone drive the growth and
proliferation of cancer cells.
Androgens bind to the
cancer cells' androgen receptors that are the tentacles present on the outer
side of cells designed to entangle androgen molecules. Enzalutamide plugs or seals
these receptors and does not allow them to grab androgen molecules.
Besides plugging the
androgen receptors, Enzalutamide also prevents nuclear translocation.
Thomas Flaig further
mentioned, "Prostate cancer has traditionally been viewed as having two
phases, first is the hormone-sensitive stage and second is the stage at which
the disease is no longer dependent on hormones and we're forced to turn to more
The usage of a
hormonal agent in the second stage of prostate cancer was considered useless
and futile few years ago.
However, this study
has redefined 'hormonal refractory' prostate cancer and has confirmed the
significance of androgen-targeted treatments in the later stages of the
"This approach represents a much more potent and effective means of
targeting the androgen receptor than possible with previously available agents.
While this study examined the effect of adding Enzalutamide to standard
androgen deprivation therapy, future studies could explore a single agent
approach with this drug to treat prostate cancer."
He added that further
researches on pre-chemotherapy activity are in progress.
highlighted, "We are in a renaissance period in the medical therapy of
prostate cancer. Enzalutamide is a key member of a half dozen new and emerging
drugs and the challenge of the next five years is to discover how to best time
and potentially combine these new agents. But even at this early stage,
Enzalutamide is a game changer."
noticed that Enzalutamide considerably enhanced the survival rate of prostate
cancer patients with metastatic castration-resistant cancer of prostate post
chemotherapy. The study was financially supported by Medivation and Astellas
Pharma Global Development.
with Enzalutamide in Prostate Cancer after Chemotherapy; Howard Scher et al; N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1187-1197