GSK Launches First Drug to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk in the Philippines
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced today an important milestone in the Philippines with the launch of the new indication of dutasteride, a drug that has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer by 23% overall.
Dutasteride, a drug used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement), has recently received approval from the local Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on its use for the reduction in the risk of prostate cancer in men at increased risk of developing the disease. The Philippines is the first country in Asia to have the only approved medication that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Findings in the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) study, one of the largest international, clinical trials for prostate cancer, show that dutasteride effectively lowers the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 31.4% for patients with family history and 23% overall risk reduction. The study involved 6,700 participants, aged 50 to 75 with high risk of having prostate cancer. According to Dr. Gerald Andriole, Chief of Urological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, dutasteride acts to keep the tumor at bay.
Dutasteride can inhibit both both type 1 and type 2 5-alpha reductase enzymes. These two enzymes are responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the most potent male hormone in the prostate. Both type 1 and type 2 are present in prostate tissue while type 1 can be increased in prostate cancer.
Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer such as alcohol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, race, prostate volume, family history, age and an elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Of the factors mentioned, family history, age and elevated PSA pose the strongest risk factors in the development of prostate cancer.
The Burden of the Silent Killer on Filipino Families
Prostate cancer kills one man every nineteen minutes worldwide usually but shows no early warning signs – until it’s too late. It is not only the men who are affected by this disease, but their wives and loved ones who have to go through the ordeal with them.
“People always think prostate cancer is something only men should be concerned about. Nothing is further from the truth because when a man suffers or loses his life because of prostate cancer, it is life-changing not just for him but for the wife and family he leaves behind,” said Mrs. Sonia Roco, wife to the late senator Raul Roco who succumbed to prostate cancer in 2005.
Mrs. Roco is just one of the many people in the country who has seen a loved one succumb to the disease. Through the years, there has been increasing incidence of prostate cancer in the Philippines.
“Our role as wives, as children, as people who care about the men in our lives, becomes crucial. By encouraging them to take action and be more proactive about their prostate health, we stand a better chance of keeping cancer out of our lives.” said Roco. “I’m glad to see this breakthrough in medical science offer hope to Filipinos that prostate cancer need not touch their lives. For the countless men at risk, for their wives, children, and grandchildren who need them, I believe this is something worth aiming for."
Bringing Hope of Better Health to More Filipino Men
“GSK is commited to helping more Filipinos fight prostate cancer before it even starts,” said Roberto Taboada, GSK President and Managing Director. “We have made this medicine more affordable so that more Filipinos can improve their chances of protecting themselves against this deadly cancer.” GSK reduced the price of dutasteride by 46% in March 2010 under its ValueHealth program.
With this breakthrough, Filipino men - and their families – can now turn to a new weapon to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
For more information about Prostate Cancer and risk reduction, please consult your doctor.