Few life-prolonging treatment options are available for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). This article provides an overview of the current systemic treatments available for mCRPC and reviews studies that investigate the optimal timing for the use of radium-223. The aim is to illustrate possible systemic treatment sequences to maximize benefit from radium-223 therapy.
Prostate cancer is called mCRPC when it spreads to organs outside of the prostate (such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver, or lungs) and no longer responds to hormonal therapy. There are several treatment options available for mCRPC, such as abiraterone, enzalutamide, radium-223, docetaxel, cabazitaxel, olaparib, rucaparib, sipuleucel-T, and 177Lu-PSMA. It is important to understand the risks and benefits associated with each treatment and whether current use may have an impact on future treatment options, including eligibility in certain clinical trials. Maintaining bone health is also an important part of prostate cancer care.
Radium-223 is a radioactive molecule that releases strong radiation within a very small range around itself. It mainly travels to the bone where the prostate cancer has spread and kills the cancer cells in that area. Results from a clinical study named ALSYMPCA showed that men who received radium-223 lived longer in addition to having less bone pain. The most common side effects of radium-223 are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Radium-223 minimally suppresses the bone marrow, which means that it slightly reduces the levels of red and white blood cells.
Future oncology (London, England). 2023 Mar 21 [Epub ahead of print]
Joe M O'Sullivan, Elliot Abramowitz, Len Sierra-Scacalossi
Queen University, Belfast, United Kingdom., Private Practice, Elliot Abramowitz, Ph.D, Long Beach, NY., Retired Member of the Board of Directors, Answer Cancer Foundation.