Switzerland's Ferring Pharmaceuticals has presented data which indicate that its prostate cancer drug Firmagon may be associated with lower risk of a cardiovascular event or death compared to more commonly-prescribed  hormonal therapies.

A pooled analysis of 2,328 men with prostate cancer from six trials has been presented at the European Association of Urology annual meeting in Milan. It compares treatment with Firmagon (degarelix), a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist with two luteinising hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists - leuprolide and goserelin.

Bertrand Tombal from the Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc in Brussels, noted that "although preliminary, healthcare professionals starting patients on androgen deprivation therapy should be aware of these important findings". They included the fact "that the observed difference in cardiovascular risk in patients with baseline CVD was approximately 50% lower for Firmagon versus LHRH agonists".

The data also revealed that the men in the studies treated with Firmagon had significantly higher overall survival and improved disease control as evidenced by fewer fractures and a lower incidence of renal or urinary tract adverse events compared to those taking LHRH agonists. The company noted that concerns about the cardiovascular toxicity of LHRH agonists have been raised following the October 2010 warning by the US Food and Drug Administration about an increased risk of diabetes, heart attack, sudden cardiac death and stroke.

Firmagon is administered monthly as a subcutaneous injection.