New treatment gives men with late-stage prostate cancer hope

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Just in time for Men's Health Week, men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer now have access to a newly FDA-approved treatment right here on the Suncoast.

Men suffering symptomatic late-stage castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to the bones don’t have to travel far or spend hours in treatment, because a targeted therapy offering more than one benefit is available right in our own back yard.

“What we have is yet another weapon in our armamentarium, which is growing -- an agent which can specifically target bone,” says Dr. Michael Dattoli of Dattoli Cancer Center.

Prostate cancer cells can spread to the bones. “Bone pain is one of the most miserable situations that a patient can have to deal with, with cancer.”

Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota is the first independent physician practice in the U.S. to offer Xofigo, a recently FDA-approved targeted radiation treatment. “This is for men that have failed primary treatment, that have relapsed with prostate cancer in bone, and who have shown signs of being resistant to hormonal therapy, but have progressive disease in bone causing pain and disability.”

The initial intention was to take away the painful boney symptoms, says Dr. Dattoli. “And it can be injected in a minute and take care of the bone. What we didn't know was that it was actually going to extend survival.”

Dattoli Cancer Center built an on-site hot lab. Everything is carefully measured. “And this is a geiger counter; it tells you the amount of radiation that's actually emitted.”

This newer agent is what’s known as an alpha emitted. “It delivers the dose to very short distance…but it binds specifically to minerals in bone cancer.”

No one can give you an exact amount of time that a drug is going to cause on extension of life, says Dr. Richard Sorace. “Studies that have been done have shown that this may get close to a year or more. And if the timing of the drug is right, there may be even more benefits that could be done.”

Xofigo delivers radiation directly to bone tumors, limits damage to surrounding normal tissues, and is the second prostate cancer drug approved by the FDA in the past year that demonstrates an ability to extend the survival of men with metastatic prostate cancer.