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The FDA has approved the cancer drug Provenge for use in men with advanced prostate cancer

Posts: 795
Joined: Jan 2010

It is offical...Provenge has been approved for use in patients with advanced prostate cancer by the FDA. It is the first of several promising immunotherapeutic agents to make it to the clinic.

erisian's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Dec 2008

I've been waiting for this for two and a half years!


Good article about Provenge here:


randy_in_indy's picture
Posts: 495
Joined: Oct 2009

Headway being made in prevention and cure. Also on that same page in the margin is a 32 page guide from several renown doc's on exercise and nutrition....can download into a pdf and print right off for free...I'm going to read it now.

It's on this page right hand lower margin:


HeartofSoul's picture
Posts: 730
Joined: Dec 2009

From what i have read on approval of Provenge, I was curious to know how it will play out.
I beleive its a big step towards finding a preventative vaccine against prostate cancer.

I have a question

1. How resistent will medical insurance companies be in their authorization of using it? The vaccine will cost $93,000 for a series of 3 shots of Provenge. Will the insurance company justify the cost of paying for Provenge if they see a increase of 4 months to a patients life expectancy? A chemo drug called docetaxel is currently standard treatmet for men whose tumors don't respond to hormone therapies and helps patients live about 2.4 months longer. The difference then is 2 months to what Provenge would add with the benefit of not being on chemo and all of its harsh effects

Kongo's picture
Posts: 1166
Joined: Mar 2010

I suspect that initially, most insurance companies (especially HMOs) will continue to classify this as an experimental drug and exculude it from coverage. As it is, this drug is only FDA approved for late stage prostate cancer. Those who can be treated with more conventional options should probably pursue those rather than holding out for this drug. The exciting thing about the announcement is that for the first time, the FDA has approved a drug that is individually tailored to a specific individual and their unique cancer conditions. In the future, this may be the way all cancers are treated.

mrshisname's picture
Posts: 186
Joined: Feb 2010

We arrived home from my husband's DaVinci prostatectomy yesterday and were listening to the news, and this news comes on. What a great piece of news on a particularly momentous day for us as a couple.
I suspect, like Kongo, that initially the insurers will do their darnedest to avoid giving approval for this hugely expensive drug. They will likely expect miles of documentation to support the use in a particular patient, and use that as a stalling technique. But as we all know, eventually these advances become more standard therapy and the insurers are forced to accept them. I am currently on a drug for rheumatoid arthritis that costs $5000 a month. Years past it was an arduous process for approval, not now. Without it I would be unable to work.
This is indeed a huge victory for men with prostate cancer, and from what I hear, will lead to therapies for other cancers as well. We are indeed making strides!!

Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2008

I was all excited about the news too until I saw the price tag. Sheila

erisian's picture
Posts: 107
Joined: Dec 2008

I don't think the insurance companies could deny coverage, because the treatment is no longer experimental, it is FDA approved. Anyway, chemo ain't cheap either! When I was on docetaxel, the total drug tab was running up at the rate of $16,000 PER MONTH. 10 3-week cycles of that costs more than Provenge. Also, with the improvement in median survival, Provenge could take the standard of care slot away from docetaxel. If that happens, insurance will have to cover it.

Here's the FDA information page for Provenge:

It's a little hard to find because it's not a "drug".

NCEllen's picture
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi - My husband will start chemo on Friday (docetaxel). We're meeting with his oncologist first for a recommended treatment plan. We were on vacation when the Provenge announcement was made and his Dr. had mentioned something about him being first on his list to get this treatment if possible and feasable for his situation. I'll keep you posted how our ins. coverage will react. My husband was diagnosed 2002, Gleason 8, radical pros. surgery, radiation a year later, multiple hormone therapies, ketoconazole - all of which now has become hormone refractive. PSA in Jan. was @22 and last one in April was 64. Not sure what the current one will be. His bone scans have been clean as he has been on a clinical trial study of demasubab. It protects the bones from becoming pourous, and that study is ending this month. This treatment may be FDA approved and available this summer for osteoporosis. His CT scans show multiple lymph tumors in the pelvic/lower back area that are growing, but no mets to any bone or organ at this time.
PC sucks. His reoccurance comes on the heals of my recovering from Stage3 ovarian cancer last year. So far, my numbers are low, I'm in remission and feeling great.
My turn to take care of him and hoping this chemo treatment is not to bad. Just found out we're going to be first time grandparents in December, so that alone will keep his will strong (and faith). Take care, keeping the hope of a cure always in my heart for all of you dealing with this - Ellen

lewvino's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: May 2009

First Congrats on becoming Grandparents! I wish my two sons (both married) Would get something going there! LOL.

Second Sorry to hear about you and your hubby. Keep the faith and keep surviving!


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