The ATLANTA trial is testing a new way to treat advanced disease, targeting the initial tumour inside the prostate to slow the growth of other tumours around the body.
Once prostate cancer spreads outside the prostate, it’s often no longer curable. The ATLANTA trial is testing a new way to treat advanced disease, targeting the initial tumour inside the prostate to slow the growth of other tumours around the body. This could potentially extend the lives of men living with advanced prostate cancer.
Men with advanced disease usually receive treatments such as hormone deprivation therapy alongside chemotherapy to slow the growth of cancer throughout the body. Treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy to the whole prostate are not considered an option for these men, as the cancer has already escaped. In other words, it’s like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
However, the ATLANTA trial is testing whether treatments to the prostate gland may still be beneficial to men with advanced prostate cancer, by keeping the disease at bay for longer.
The nationwide trial, run by Professor Hashim Ahmed at Imperial College London, plans to recruit 918 men newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
The trial follows results released from the STAMPEDE trial last year, that showed treating the prostate with radiotherapy, alongside standard hormone therapy, could increase three year survival rates for men whose cancer had spread.
Researchers believe this may be because even when cancer has spread from the prostate, the prostate tumour continues to send growth signals to cancer that has spread to other places in the body. These signals may encourage the cancer to grow faster at these sites.
Researchers will test if treating the prostate with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy or focal therapy, may prevent growth signals from reaching cancer that has spread .
This exciting trial is exploring whether treating the prostate gland directly in men with advanced disease can keep the cancer under control for longer, offering them extra valuable time with their loved ones. We look forward to seeing the results.
We are currently funding Professor Ahmed to run a second clinical trial, CHRONOS, looking at whether focal therapy could become an alternative treatment for men with localised prostate cancer. Focal therapy uses targeted ultrasound energy (HIFU), or targeted cell-freezing techniques (cryotherapy) to destroy cancerous tissue, while leaving surrounding healthy cells untouched.
If the results of the CHRONOS study are positive, they may inform future trials like ATLANTA which are testing ways to kill cancer localised in the prostate after the disease has already spread, and potentially extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer.
This is early stages for this exciting research. But previous funding for Professor Ahmed for mpMRI scanning helped to give men a more accurate diagnosis, leading to better treatment options, and is taking us a step closer towards a screening programme.
Experimental research like this can lead to progress in treatment that saves and lengthens thousands of lives, and it's only possible because of supporters like you.