Cancer breakthrough following drug trial at Tallaght University Hospital

Gary Ibbotson 01 Mar 2023

Medical researchers at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) have taken part in a ground-breaking Clinical Trial which has discovered that the drug Rucaparib is successful in the treatment of certain prostate cancers.

The trial which began in TUH in 2017, was called TRITON 3.

The purpose of the study was to determine how patients with prostate cancer (which had spread) responded to treatment with the drug Rucaparib versus treatment with other drugs (such as Abiraterone Acetate, Enzalutamide or Docetaxel).

The trial only involved men who had either a BRCA or ATM gene mutation.

A spokesperson said that “all of the patients who took part in this study also had what is known as castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

“In short, this means that prostate cancer keeps growing even when the amount of testosterone in the body is reduced to very low levels.

Over a 5 year period, TUH screened 120 men for this study.

Patients were then asked if they would like to participate in this trial.

Once consent was given, a blood sample was shipped to Foundation Medicine in the USA.

Here, the blood was tested for a panel of genes. If the patient sample was positive for certain genes they were contacted and asked if they would like to participate in the trial.

They were then randomised to receive the study drug Rucaparib.

Clinical Professor of Medical Oncology at TUH, Ray Mc Dermott was one of the principal investigators for this TRITON 3 Trial.

Professor McDermott is the National Cancer ControI Programme lead in guideline development for prostate cancer.

He was also the second highest recruiter globally for the TRITON 3 trial and supervised care to the men taking part in this important new research which was partly carried out in Ireland to find better treatments for prostate cancer.

Overall, 17 patients (13 of these in TUH) had the required genes and met all other eligibility criteria and proceeded to the main trial.

Patients were reviewed regularly by the Oncology Clinical Trials team in TUH and all scans were reported by Prof William Torreggiani, Consultant Radiologist.

The drugs were supplied via the TUH pharmacy department.

“The highly regarded New England Journal of Medicine has just reported that the TRITON 3 Trial demonstrated that progression-free survival was significantly improved when patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer were treated with Rucaparib versus other medications,” a spokesperson said.

“It also discovered that Rucaparib provides a potential treatment option for eligible men, with earlier-stage disease.”

The results have just been released in San Francisco at a conference organised by the American Society of Clinical Oncology which focused on genitourinary cancers.

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