Prostate cancer drug more effective with low-fat breakfast

June 10, 2019

Prostate cancer is regarded as the fifth cancer fatality worldwide. Singapore’s Cancer Registry notes that some 3,450 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2009 to 2013 – this makes it the third most common cancer among Singaporean men, but local researchers have recently found improved outcomes from using the treatment drug slightly differently from usual.

Even as the standard metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer treatment is a “food effect” drug, prostate cancer patients could apparently cut costs, digestive issues and their daily dose of the drug simply by taking it with low-fat food. The active compound, abiraterone acetate,can be four or five times more effective when swallowed with a low-fat meal (7% fat, about 300 calories). However, the typical course which requires overnight fasting and morning pill intakes before breakfast is thought to be wasteful and inconvenient.

So, researchers from various institutions in Singapore and the US designed a randomised clinical trial to see if the drug could be used more efficiently and at lower costs. The enrolled subjects with advanced prostate cancer either took the recommended 1,000mg dose each morning on an empty stomach or a 250mg dose with a low-fat breakfast such as cereal with skim milk. Patients were advised to avoid high-fat food sources like bacon or sausage. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the study group which took a lower dose kept the disease under control as well as the patient group which took the recommended dose.

Dr. Yong Wei Peng, Senior Consultant in the Department of Haematology-Oncology at Singapore’s National University Cancer Institute (NCIS), thinks the simplified dosage provides great opportunity for cost savings, as the recommended dose of abiraterone acetate can add up to almost US$44,000 a year.

Despite the small size of the study, it was obviously more convenient in the long run for the patients who took the lower dose drug with food, and further trials may well result in substantial cost savings for patients in the region.


Category: Education, Features

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