Astellas Korea is strengthening its position in the local prostate cancer market with Xtandi, a hormone therapy for prostate cancer, armed with various insurance benefits and indications for patients, the company said Tuesday.
|Professor Ha Hong-koo explains the benefits of Xtandi, during a news conference at the L’Escape Hotel in Seoul, Wednesday.|
Prostate cancer, the fourth-common male cancer in Korea, has recently shown improved survival rate over the years thanks to early detection and aggressive treatment.
However, some patients develop castration-resistant prostate cancer, which is resistant to the standard androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) with a poor prognosis, and more than 84 percent of the patients suffer from metastasis. Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is a fatal disease with a life expectancy of nine to 13 months. Treatments approved for mCRPC in Korea include chemotherapy, radiation medication, and hormone treatment.
"In the case of mCRPC, the majority of older patients prefer hormone therapy as it is difficult for them to tolerate the side effects of chemotherapy," said Professor Ha Hong-koo of the Department of Urology at Pusan National University Hospital in a news conference Tuesday. "However, it was hard to use the treatments as a first-line therapy as the drugs had not received insurance coverage."
Such aspects have finally changed as the health regulator has granted reimbursement for these hormone therapies as a first-line treatment, benefitting more patients, Professor Ha said.
The company won differential reimbursement for the drug in treating mCRPC as a first-line treatment on May 20. The new insurance plan resulted in the drug receiving reimbursement as both the first- and second-line treatment for treating mCRPC and reduced the financial cost for patients who use Xtandi as a first-line treatment, by about 30 percent.
Ha also stressed that prescribing hormonal therapy requires hospitals to take into account the patient's medical situation.
"In this regard, Xtandi is a good treatment option for prostate cancer patients," Ha said. "Xtandi was recommended for patients with prostate cancer who have medical characteristics such as diabetes, heart disease, and liver dysfunction, at the Advanced Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference (APCCC) 2017."
It is convenient as it can be taken regardless of meals and does not have any mandatory monitoring related to adverse effects, he added.
The company believes that aside from the treatments various insurance benefits, it can also help patients from different forms of prostate cancer as it holds a broad indication in treating the disease.
Astellas Pharma Korea won the nod for Xtandi in June 2013 for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who have been treated with docetaxel. The drugmaker received the insurance benefit for Xtandi in November 2014 under a risk-sharing agreement (RSA) and renewed the RSA in February to extend the deal until January 2023.
In May 2015, the company gained Xtandi's indication for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with no symptom or mild symptoms. Most recently, the treatment expanded indication against non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in February of this year.
With the additional indication, Xtandi has become the first targeted therapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer, regardless of metastasis.