New Medication to Reduce Bone Complications Now Available in Ontario

Patients with advanced prostate cancer gain access to first-in-class treatment

OTTAWA, April 25, 2012 /CNW/ – Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is today congratulating the Ontario government for providing access to XGEVA® (denosumab) for the prevention of debilitating bone complications, known as skeletal-related events (SREs), in men with advanced prostate cancer which has spread to the bone.

When cancer metastasizes to the bone, a number of serious complications can occur. These may include broken bones, spinal cord compression, as well as the need for radiation and/or surgery to the bone. In people with advanced prostate cancer, SREs are associated with increased disability and even death.

“We congratulate the Ontario government for providing access to XGEVA to treat the complications that can arise when prostate cancer, the leading cancer among Canadian men, spreads to the bone,” said Jackie Manthorne, President and CEO, CCSN. “We hope that other provinces across Canada follow in the footsteps of Ontario andQuebec in making this innovative treatment available to patients.”

CCSN provides a voice for people affected by cancer. It believes that all Canadians battling all types of cancers must have access to new treatments, both for the cancer itself and complications arising from the cancer, such as SREs. Further, its mandate is to ensure that Canadians have access to all of the approved medications they need for optimal care.

The Ontario Public Drug Programs will reimburse XGEVA under the Exceptional Access Program and through Cancer Care Ontario’s New Drug Funding Program for patients with prostate cancer who meet the following criteria:

·         Treatment of bony metastases for patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer as determined by an elevated PSA level, or evidence of progressive bony disease1, despite castrate serum testosterone levels (<1.7nmol/L or <50ng/dL).

1Progressive bony disease should be demonstrated by progressive changes in radionucleotide bone scan or clinical signs of disease progression (e.g., pathological fracture or increasing bone pain).
Note: Patients who have undergone orchidectomy do not need to provide a serum testosterone level.
Dose: 120 mg SC every four weeks
About bone metastases 
One of the most common places for prostate cancer to spread is to the bone. In fact, Up to 90 per cent of men with advanced prostate cancer develop bone metastases throughout the course of their disease.1,2,3

Once cancer has spread to the bone, a number of serious complications can occur, known as SREs. Approximately 50 to 70 per cent of all cancer patients with bone metastases will experience debilitating SREs, such as fractures or spinal cord compression, which necessitates procedures like major surgery and radiation.4,5,6,7 Such complications can profoundly impact a patient’s quality of life and cause disability and pain. In people with advanced cancer, SREs are associated with increased illness and death, and can place a significant economic burden on the healthcare system.8

While there are currently no treatments to prevent or delay the spread of cancer to the bones, treatments like XGEVA, for the complications of bone metastases, helps prevent or delay broken bones, spinal cord compression, or the need for surgery or radiation from occurring.
About Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN)
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada. Follow CCSN via their blog at

 Tannock IF, de Wit, R, Berry WR, et al. Docetaxel plus Prednisone or Mitoxantrone plus Prednisone for Advanced Prostate Cancer. N Engl J Med 2004; 351:1502-12.
2 Scher HI, Morris MJ, Kelly MK. Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial End points: “RECIST”ing a Step Backwards. Clin Cancer Res 2005:11:5223-5232. Published online July 20, 2005.
3 Petrylak DP, Tangen CM, Hussain MHA, et al. Docetaxel and Estramustine Compared with Mitoxantrone and Prednisone for Advanced Refractory Prostate Cancer. N Engl J Med 2004;351:1513-20.
4 Coleman, RE. Skeletal complications of malignancy. Cancer. 1997; 80 (suppl): 1588-1594.
5 Dictionary of Cancer Terms – spinal cord compression. National Cancer Institute website. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
6 Saad F. Impact of bone metastases on patient’s quality of life and importance of treatment. Eur Urol. 2006; 5(suppl): 547-550.
7 Janjan NA. Radiation for bone metastases. Cancer. 2000:80:1628-1645.
8 Schulman K and Kohles J. Economic burden of metastatic bone disease in the U.S. Cancer. 2007: 109 (11):2334-2342. 

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