4 minutes Morag Idan

Prostate Scotland welcomes SMC decision on Abiraterone for hormone sensitive metastatic prostate cancer

We are very pleased by and welcome the decision earlier today of the Scottish Medicines Consortium to make Abiraterone available as an option on the NHS for the treatment of high risk metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer in Scotland. This is a very welcome decision which will potentially benefit men with advanced prostate cancer which is still sensitive to hormone treatment. Research has shown that treatment for men with metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer with Abiraterone in combination with hormone treatment (androgen deprivation treatment) by comparison with men receiving hormone treatment alone is likely to increase overall survival and progression free survival and also less pain progression than treatment with hormone therapy alone[i].  The availability of Abiraterone is likely in particular to be helpful for those men with advanced prostate cancer and whose cancer is still hormone sensitive and who are unsuitable for or cannot tolerate chemotherapy.  Men with prostate cancer we consulted over Abiraterone are very much in favour of its availability in Scotland.

Prostate cancer is an important issue in Scotland – with it being the most common cancer in men in Scotland, with a lifetime risk of one in ten. We are pleased that there have been advances in treatment over the past few years, but there is still a need for further progress- especially in the field of advanced prostate cancer. To this end the availability of Abiraterone as an option for men with high risk advanced hormone sensitive prostate cancer is a very helpful step forward and the decision of the SMC to approve its availability on the NHS in Scotland is most positive.


Notes to Editors

  •  For further information please contact Prostate Scotland at info@prostatescotland.org.uk or 0131 603 8660
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland, with a lifetime chance of one in ten men developing it. In 2017 there were 3518 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Scotland, and 986 men died from prostate cancer in that year[ii]. Survival rates amongst men with prostate cancer have encouragingly doubled over the past two decades with 80% of men with prostate cancer now surviving it [iii]. Projections by the NHS show that the diagnosis of men with prostate cancer is likely to rise by up to 35% between now and 2027 [iv]. Metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer is advanced prostate cancer, where the cancer has spread outwith the prostate, but is still sensitive to hormone treatment. Treatment for advanced prostate cancer is usually with hormone therapy and also often chemotherapy to try to slow down/ stop the growth of the cancer. After a period of time for some men the hormone treatment stops being effective and becomes ‘castrate or hormone resistant’. It is important that whilst the cancer is still hormone sensitive to treat it and try and delay the onset of the cancer becoming hormone/castrate resistant. Abiraterone works by blocking the production of testosterone, which can help slowdown or delay the growth of the cancer.
  • Prostate Scotland is a registered Scottish charity no SC037494. It was set up in 2006 as a Scottish charity to develop awareness of prostate disease, to support men and their families/ partners with the disease through providing advice and information and to advance treatment and research into prostate disease. Its aim is to reach out across Scotland to create greater awareness amongst men and their families/partners about prostate disease and to advance treatment. It has established an award winning website www.prostatescotland.org.uk providing a wide range of information about prostate disease and treatments, as well as providing information and advice about prostate disease to men and their families across Scotland. In 2010 the charity won a national award for its impact on community health and in 2013 and 2015 was commended in the British Medical Association Patient information Awards, and in 2017 was awarded Scottish health charity of the year.

[i] See Fizazi et al., the Lancet Oncology doi.org/10/1016/S1470-2045(19)30082-8, Sydes et al Annals of Oncology 29: 1235-1248 2018

[ii] See Cancer in Scotland April 20219 Information services Division NHS National Services Scotland

[iii] Cancer in Scotland: ISD, NHS National Services Scotland, September 2011

[iv] See Scottish Cancer Registry May 2016 and Cancer Incidence in in Scotland (2014), and Information Services Division NHS National Services Scotland November 2015