New drug gives hope to prostate cancer patients

Karl Hoffman of Myrtle Beach enjoys hunting, fishing and the kind of active lifestyle that many other 65-year-old retirees might envy.

He also has stage 4 prostate cancer.

"I feel great. I have no side effects. I feel absolutely wonderful," Hoffman said.

Under the direction of Myrtle Beach urologist Dr. Neal Shore, Hoffman has been involved in a trial for a new drug called Enzalutamide.

The drug recently gained the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Shore says Enzalutamide, marketed under the trade name Xtandi, is giving new hope for better quality lives to late-stage prostate cancer patients.

Shore heads the Carolina Urologic Research Center in Myrtle Beach , which was a key site for early testing of Enzalutamide. Shore also co-wrote a paper for the New England Journal of Medicine about it.

The drug proved to be so effective at extending the lives of late-stage prostate cancer patients, the FDA approved its use after only three months of review, twice as fast as researchers had expected.

"Because they recognized the unmet need and the importance of getting it out to patients as early as possible," Shore said.

Shore added the drug works by blocking the androgen receptors that are responsible for reproducing prostate cancer cells. He said testing shows the drug can extend the lives of patients by an average of five months, with few side effects.

Enzalutamide is not a cure, he said, but it is one step toward making prostate cancer into more of a chronic condition, instead of a killer.

"By chronic disease, as if you have diabetes or high blood pressure or chronic cholesterol elevation," Shore said. "We don't want patients to die of prostate cancer, who have advanced disease. We want them to live with it, enjoy a high quality of life for as long as possible."

After undergoing chemotherapy and 17 surgeries over a period of 13 years, a good quality of life is something Karl Hoffman says he now enjoys, for the first time in a long time.

"I've got a much better outlook on life," he said. "I'm looking forward to old age."