How Long Do Men Taking Provenge Live?

Provenge life expectancy is something you will want to know about following treatment with Provenge just as you would with any medical treatment for prostate cancer.

In 2011 in the United States, there were 240,890 new cases of prostate cancer and 33,720 deaths from the disease. Most men are diagnosed early with only localized disease. However, other men are diagnosed late after the disease has spread or men may experience a progression of their cancer. This is when a man is most likely to receive Provenge treatment.

What Is Provenge?

Provenge is a relatively new therapy for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, castrate resistant metastatic prostate cancer. Patients will generally have received other treatments for prostate cancer before receiving Provenge.

Patients considered to be good candidates for this therapy have a rising PSA level following standard prostate cancer treatments. Additionally, the prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate, but not significant enough to need narcotics for pain control.

Provenge is an immunotherapy that trains your immune system to fight prostate cancer. It is called a cancer vaccine even though it is different from the vaccines you were given as a child to prevent diseases like measles and mumps.

The goal of the Provenge immunotherapy is to stimulate your body’s own natural defense systems. The treatment helps the body become aware of, attack, and destroy prostate cancer cells.

The hope is that Provenge will increase survival and slow cancer progression by decreasing size and number of cancer sites in your body.

Provenge Life Expectancy

In two phase 3 clinical trials,  225 patients either received the Provenge treatment (n=147) or  a placebo (n=78), a comparison group not receiving Provenge treatment.

There was a 33% reduction in risk of death between the groups which translated into a median increase in survival of just over 4 months for the entire group. More than twice the number of men treated with Provenge survived 36 months compared to men receiving placebo (33% versus 15%, respectively).

Additionally, 60% of the men in these trials went on to receive other chemotherapy treatments following participation in these studies. This may indicate that Provenge might be a useful treatment before receiving chemotherapy. However, more study is needed.

Standard practice in cancer treatment often utilizes multiple drugs with different mechanisms of action in order to attempt to achieve an optimal treatment benefit. The idea is to attack the cancer from different angles and ultimately improve survival. Future studies examining Provenge life expectancy may look at different combinations and sequences of drugs for prostate cancer.

If you think you might be a good candidate for the Provenge vaccine, talk with your doctor. They can discuss whether or not Provenge might be for you as well as risks, benefits, and side effects.

Sources

Higano CS et al. Integrated data from 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trials of active cellular immunotherapy with sipuleucel-T in advanced prostate cancer. Cancer 2009 Aug 15; 115(16):3670-79
National Cancer Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011) Prostate Cancer Snapshot.