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Early detection of prostate cancer is key for increasing survival rate in Morocco

27th November 2017 in Product Launches


  • Prostate cancer incidence rate in Morocco has increased by 62% from 2004 to 2007[1]
  • 10-20% of patients are diagnosed at a late stage[2], indicating a need for increased awareness around screening and early detection
  • Astellas launches a new prostate cancer treatment that enables physicians to better tailor prostate cancer disease management based on patients’ needs

 Casablanca, Morocco; November 27, 2017: November is men’s health awareness month and this year healthcare professionals in Morocco are calling men to get tested for prostate cancer by taking a simple blood test. To coincide with the month, pharmaceutical leader Astellas is introducing a new treatment option for patients suffering from prostate cancer, enabling physicians to better tailor disease management that will result in patients maintaining higher quality of life and decrease disease burden[3].

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in Morocco1. Men’s health month is an opportunity to educate and encourage Moroccan men, 7%[4] of whom are within the age group at risk of prostate cancer, to take a proactive approach to prostate health. According to a cancer incidence report from the Casablanca registry, prostate cancer incidence rate has increased by 62% from 2004 to 20071. Roughly 10-20% of patients are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease2, suggesting the need for increased awareness around screening and early detection.

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2014, prostate cancer was responsible for 13.2% of the 12,500 cancer related deaths in Morocco[5]. Dr. Saida Loughmari, Head of Society of Moroccan Cancerology said: “Advances in treatment have allowed us to effectively treat prostate cancer through several therapeutic modalities. It is a highly curable disease, if it is detected early; therefore, we must encourage and sensitize Moroccan men about the importance of early detection and taking proactive measures by consulting their doctor for a prostate consultation.”

Prostate cancer deaths across the MENA region are expected to increase by 28% from 15,422 in 2012 to 19,681 in 2020[6]. While several factors influence prostate cancer risk, age is the most established; the risk increases among males as they get older, with those over the age of 45 and who have a family history of prostate cancer at the greatest risk[7]. Compared to other Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Morocco has an older population, with 7% of people older than4 55 years of age, placing them in the risk group.

Dr. Hassan Errihani, Head of Association Marocain de Formation et Recherce Oncologie Medical commented: “The treatment of metastatic castration-resistant cancer has seen significant progress in recent years. Recent studies show that new-generation hormone therapies like Enzalutamide are effective and better tolerated. This drug may delay the need for chemotherapy for 28 months with a good quality of life.”

A new prescription medication is now available as an alternative treatment option for Moroccan men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Enzalutamide, the active ingredient, targets and blocks the signalling pathway of androgen receptors at three distinct stages, disrupting a cascade of events which fuel the growth of prostate cancer[8][9][10]. Men who received the new cancer prescription drug experienced a 68% reduction in the risk of disease progression and a 23% decrease in the risk of death from prostate cancer3.

“Until very recently, chemotherapy was the only option available to patients suffering from metastatic castration-resistance prostate cancer. We are proud to introduce another treatment option to Moroccan prostate cancer patients and medical community. Annually Astellas invests 16.4% of its turn over to R&D, as we strive to create innovative medical solutions to improve the lives of patients. We will continue investing heavily to address unmet medical needs in our disease areas,” Khaled Djouamai, Astellas Maghreb Area Manager, said during the product launch.


[1] Bouchbika Z, Haddad H, Benchakroun N, et al. Cancer incidence in Morocco: report from Casablanca registry 2005-2007. The Pan African Medical Journal. 2013;16:31. doi:10.11604/pamj.2013.16.31.2791.

[2] Yap TA, Zivi A, Omlin A et al. The changing therapeutic landscape of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2011; 8 (10):597–610

[3]Beer TM, et al. (2016). Enzalutamide in Men with Chemotherapy-naive Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer: Extended Analysis of the Phase 3 PREVAIL Study. European Urology. Available at Last accessed October 2017.

[4] CIA World Fact Book – Morocco. Available: Last Accessed November 2017

[5] World Health Organization, Cancer Mortality Profile  Available: Last accessed October 2017.

[6] International Agency for Research on Cancer. World Health Organization. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012. All Cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer)

[7] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2003. 2003; American Cancer Society: Atlanta, GA; 48

[8]  European Medicines Agency, Xtandi (Enzalutamide) Summary of Product Characteristics, 2014

[9] European Commission, Community register of medical products for human use – Xtandi. Available: last accessed October 2017

[10] Tran C, Ouk S, Clegg N et al. Development of a Second-Generation Antiandrogen for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer. Science 2009;324(5928): 787–90

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