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Prostate Cancer UK hails double treatment victory for men in Scotland

Press Release   •   Oct 13, 2015 10:04 BST

Charity vows to fight on for full UK-wide access to abiraterone and radium-223

Prostate Cancer UK has welcomed the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) decision to recommend two new life extending and life enhancing treatments for men with incurable prostate cancer for use on NHS Scotland.

Abiraterone - a hormone treatment for men with incurable prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body - was initially rejected by the SMC for use before chemotherapy in February 2015. However an Independent Review Panel (IRP) has overturned this decision, meaning that abiraterone is now to become routinely available to men in Scotland who have not had chemotherapy. (The SMC approved abiraterone for men who have had chemotherapy in August 2012).

Radium-223 - a new treatment for men with incurable prostate cancer that has spread to the bones – has also been approved for routine use on NHS Scotland, both before and after chemotherapy.

The news follows Prostate Cancer UK making powerful written and oral representations to the SMC about both treatments, bolstered by the strongly worded views of almost 500 people whose lives have been affected by the disease in Scotland.

Scotland has now become the only part of the UK where abiraterone and radium-223 are routinely available both before and after chemotherapy. Prostate Cancer UK is calling on England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

Commenting on the news Director of Support & Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, Heather Blake, said: “This fantastic news is an absolute triumph for everyone in Scotland who joined us in calling for men with incurable prostate cancer to be entitled to receive these life-prolonging and life-enhancing treatments. Today is their rightful reward for all their hard work.

“Now that the correct decisions have been made health boards must waste no time in ensuring that men who need these treatments can access them as soon as possible. Men with incurable prostate cancer should not be subjected to any further delays at a stage in their life when time is at an absolute premium.”

Blake concluded: “Delighted though we are for men who are able to routinely access these drugs in Scotland, our work will go on until NICE follows the SMC’s lead and approves these treatments as the next step towards delivering full access for men throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.”



A. Abiraterone prior to chemotherapy

Following an award winning campaign from Prostate Cancer UK, abiraterone after chemotherapy was approved for routine use on NHS Scotland in August 2012. However, until now, the drug was not routinely available before chemotherapy.

The phase III trial of abiraterone prior to chemotherapy illustrated a highly significant benefit for men and their loved ones. The drug was shown to delay the start of chemotherapy by an average of 9.7 months and increase overall survival by an average of 4.4 months (34.7 months vs 30.0 months with prednisone alone) (1).

B. Radium-223

Radium-223 dichloride has been shown to provide significant survival and quality of life benefit. Results from the phase III clinical trial of 921 patients with hormone-relapsed prostate cancer and bone metastases showed an average overall survival benefit with radium-223 dichloride, compared to placebo, of 3.6 months. The trial also demonstrated a 5.8 month delay to first skeletal event with radium-223 dichloride, compared to placebo (2).

C. About Men United and Prostate Cancer UK:

  • Men deserve better. Men United is Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for everyone who believes that men are worth fighting for, to help us beat prostate cancer and keep friendships alive. Some 230,000 people have engaged with Men United since 2014.
    • Men United has tons of fun ways for people to see their mates, from bike rides, sponsored walks, BBQs and quiz nights - all whilst doing something great for Prostate Cancer UK.
    • Search Men United, or visit
    • Prostate Cancer UK works to get men in all areas of the country the early detection, effective diagnosis and better treatments that will beat this disease.
    • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. More than 10,000 men die every year from this male-only disease, and 300,000 men are living with prostate cancer in the UK.
    • Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can contact Prostate Cancer UK's Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or via the online Live chat, instant messaging service: The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.
  • References

    1. Ryan C, Smith M, Fizazi K, Miller K. 753O - Final overall survival (OS) analysis of COU-AA-302, a randomized phase 3 study of abiraterone acetate (AA) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients (pts) without prior chemotherapy [Internet]. [cited 2014 Sep 26]. Available from:
    2. Parker C, Nilsson S, Heinrich D, Helle SI, O’Sullivan JM, Fosså SD, et al. Alpha Emitter Radium-223 and Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(3):213–23.