A team of researchers at University College London and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London have found that administering abiraterone plus the standard of care therapy could halve mortality risk for locally advanced prostate cancer in a study.

Discovered by ICR scientists with funding from Cancer Research UK, abiraterone is currently used for the treatment of prostate cancer which spreads to other body parts.

Led by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council, the study is part of the STAMPEDE clinical trial.

In the trial, 1,974 subjects were enrolled across two groups to receive the standard treatment or standard treatment plus abiraterone.

The therapy is given along with a steroid called prednisolone and these subjects will be followed up for six years.

Furthermore, nearly 50% of the subjects in the abiraterone arm also received another hormone treatment enzalutamide.

Findings showed that abiraterone alone, or with enzalutamide to standard treatment boosted survival and lowered the chance of the tumour from spreading.

During the follow-up duration, 7% of the subjects treated with abiraterone died from prostate cancer versus 15% of subjects who were given standard care.

Subjects in the abiraterone arm who received enzalutamide did not show improvement in outcomes beyond those treated with abiraterone alone and led to a rise in adverse events.

The data indicated that using abiraterone in combination with prednisolone to treat earlier-stage prostate cancer lowers mortality, boost survival and avert cancer spread.

ICR, London Prostate and Bladder Cancer Research professor Nick James said: “Our latest findings are the first to show the drug can also benefit men whose cancer is at an earlier stage – improving survival and reducing the chance of progression.

“The next step is for NICE to consider and implement our findings so that men can benefit from abiraterone before their cancer has spread, drastically improving their quality of life and preventing many unnecessary deaths.”

The use of abiraterone to treat early prostate cancer in NHS England is being deliberated.

Last month, ICR scientists detected a new combination of two approved cancer drugs that can be used to treat children suffering from incurable brain cancer.