Clinical trial tests targeting prostate cancer treatment

Are certain drugs more effective against some types of prostate cancers than others? Researchers know that not all therapies work for all patients – the next question is to figure out how to match the right treatments with the right patients.

A new clinical trial is testing whether an experimental drug can maximize the effect of current treatment and whether matching that drug to a genetic anomaly can lead to better, more personalized treatment for prostate cancer. The trial, led by investigators at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, is being conducted at 11 sites throughout the country.

The phase 2 trial will look at patients with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer, which means the cancer has spread and has stopped responding to hormone-based treatments. The target will be a rearrangement in the genes that leads to two genes fusing together, creating a hybrid gene. This fused hybrid gene occurs in about half of all prostate cancers.

“We hope this study will help us understand why certain patients respond to therapy and certain patients do not. By better understanding the evolving biology of prostate cancer, we will have the ability to better treat the disease,” says the new study’s principal investigator, Maha Hussain, M.D., associate director of clinical research at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study participants will undergo a biopsy to determine whether their tumor has the gene fusion. All participants will receive the standard hormone-based therapy abiraterone. Each group – gene fusion positive and gene fusion negative – will then be randomly assigned so half of participants will also take an experimental drug called ABT-888 in addition to abiraterone.

“Can we better select treatments for prostate cancer based on the genes in the patient’s cancer? We hope that what we learn from this study will help us to better control and better treat the deadly stage of prostate cancer,” Hussain says.

“In order to beat your enemy you’ve got to understand it. We are getting closer and closer to understanding the enemy which is cancer,” she adds.

For information about this trial:

Call the U-M Cancer AnswerLine™ at 800-865-1125.

Read the trial’s FAQs.

Find other clinical trials at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.


University of Michigan IRBMED#: HUM00060473


mahaThe Urologic Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center follows a team approach to diagnosing and treating those with prostate cancer. Our specialists work together to develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient. All of this takes place in our Multidisciplinary Urologic Oncology Clinic.



CCC 25 years button150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.