Thousands of men could live longer with prostate cancer after taking a new drug combination.
Around 10,000 men a year in the UK are estimated to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer, which is normally treated with hormone therapy and radiotherapy.
A study found also giving them a drug called abiraterone halves their risk of dying from the cancer over six years.
Abiraterone was denied to men with more advanced prostate cancer in January, after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which approves drugs, ruled it was not cost-effective and should not be offered routinely.
The expensive daily tablets cost £35,500 a year privately, although how much the NHS pays is not known.
However the new British-led trial in a different group of men, whose prostate cancer had not spread, found abiraterone, taken for just two years, greatly improved their chances of survival.
Experts hope the drug could be made available on the NHS ‘soon’ following the results.
Thousands of men could live longer with prostate cancer after taking a new drug combination. Around 10,000 men a year in the UK are estimated to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer, which is normally treated with hormone therapy and radiotherapy
Researchers tracked 988 men given hormone therapy, with most of them getting it alongside radiotherapy, which is the usual treatment.
They compared them with 986 men receiving the usual treatment, plus abiraterone.
Over six years, men given the combination of drugs including abiraterone were 51 per cent less likely to die than those on the normal treatment.
Only 18 per cent of them had seen the cancer spread through their body, compared with 31 per cent of those not given the combination.
The study’s co-author Professor Gerhardt Attard, from University College London, said: ‘Based on these results, all men with high-risk non-metastatic prostate cancer should be considered for two years of abiraterone.’
Another author, Nick James, professor of prostate and bladder cancer research at the Institute of Cancer Research and a consultant clinical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The results were spectacular – that is really the only word for it.
‘We are in active discussions with NHS England about how these findings can be implemented.’
The Mail has spent 20 years campaigning to