Abiraterone is a steroidal agent and inhibits CYP17A, an enzyme necessary for the production of androgen precursors and subsequently testosterone. It is capable of inhibiting testosterone production both in the adrenals as well as the testes.
Data from a recent phase III trial was presented at the ESMO meeting and in this International trial involving 1,195 patients, Abiraterone plus a steroid was compared with placebo plus steroid in patients with CRPC (Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer) who had failed chemotherapy with Docetaxel. Following an interim analysis and upon recommendation from the Independent Data Monitoring Committeee, the study had to be unblinded, as there was a significant improvement in overall survival in the group receiving Abiraterone. With the availability of several new agents for the treatment of CRPC, it may be important to properly sequence these available drugs to get the best of each treatment intervention and thus improve long term survival with limited toxicity.