Prostate cancer research priorities: patients speak


For a little over a week we have been running a poll on what patients think should be the prostate cancer research priorities for the American Urological Association’s evolving “National Urology Research Agenda.” We are now pleased to be able to offer complete results of this poll below.

In each set of questions, poll participants were asked to select just ONE of the options offered.

RISK/PREVENTION PRIORITIES

  • Tests that will distinguish between indolent and aggressive disease without a biopsy: 41/119 (34 percent)
  • New drugs that will prevent prostate cancer: 15/119 (13 percent)
  • Both of the above: 58/119 (49 percent)
  • Other: 5/119 (4 percent)

EARLY STAGE DISEASE PRIORITIES

  • Drugs that will prevent progression of early stage disease effectively and safely (with no need for surgery, radiation, etc.): 48/120 (40 percent)
  • Focal therapy (i.e., ways to treat only the part of the prostate that seems to be cancerous): 20/120 (17 percent)
  • Concensus criteria for active surveillance protocols (who is appropriate and how it is done): 15/120 (13 percent)
  • All of the above: 37/120 (31 percent)

PROGRESSIVE DISEASE PRIORITIES

  • New drugs that can slow the progression of prostate cancer without the side effects of hormone therapy: 44/105 (42 percent)
  • New drugs that can actually stop progressive prostate cancer (even if they have significant side effects): 18/105 (17 percent)
  • Both of the above: 43/105 (41 percent)

ADVANCED DISEASE PRIORITIES

  • New drugs that will give men with HRPC/CRPC at least 1 year of additional survival compared to current chemotherapy: 10/130 (8 percent)
  • New drugs that with give men with HRPC/CRPC at least 5 years of additional survival compared to current chemotherapy: 44/130 (34 percent)
  • New immunotherapies like Provenge that extend survival with low risk for side effects: 75/130 (58 percent)
  • Other: 1/130 (1 percent)

While this is only a small poll, it does seem to show some interesting viewpoints, as follows:

  • 83 percent of those polled prioritize the need for tests that can distinguish between indolent and aggressive disease without the need for a biopsy, which is notably higher than the 62 percent that prioritized the need for drugs that can prevent prostate cancer.
  • 71 percent of those polled prioritized the need for drugs that can prevent progression of early stage disease effectively and safely (with no need for surgery, radiation, etc.).
  • 83 percent of those polled prioritized the need for new drugs that can slow down the growth of progressive prostate cancer without the side effects of hormone therapy, as compared with 61 percent who would like to see the development of drugs that can actually stop the growth of progressive prostate cancer (even if there are significant side effects).
  • Finally, when it comes to advanced disease, there is a clear preference for the development of new  immunotherapeutic agents like sipuleucel-T (Provenge) that may be able to extend survival with only a low risk for side effects as compared to drugs that can guarantee 5 additional years of survival but may come with significant side effects.

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