Tags: prostate drug | lowers | cancer risk | dutasteride | shrink enlarged prostates

Prostate Drug Lowers Cancer Risk

Monday, 05 Apr 2010 08:36 AM

A drug commonly used to shrink enlarged prostates in men has been found to also cut the risk of developing cancer in the same glands, a new study said.

The four-year international study of the drug, dutasteride, showed that it reduced by 23 percent the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in men with an increased chance of developing the disease. The study was funded by the drug's manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

Such tumors account for the majority of all prostate cancers and grow unpredictably, causing many men to opt for aggressive surgery or radiation treatments which can leave them incontinent or impotent.

"Dutasteride may potentially offer many thousands of men a way to reduce their risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer," said the lead author, Gerald Andriole, chief of urologic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"This means more men could avoid unnecessary treatment for prostate cancer along with the costs and harmful side effects that can occur with treatment."

The trial of the drug was carried out in 250 sites in 42 countries involving some 8,231 men aged between 50 and 75, who were randomly given either a placebo or a daily dose of the drug.

Two years after the start of the trials, and then four years after, the men were given biopsies, said the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Some 659 men or 19.9 percent taking dutasteride were diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to 858 men or 25.1 percent taking a placebo. None of the men in the study died of prostate cancer.

Among men with a family history of prostate cancer, the drug reduced the relative risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 31.4 percent.

"The most likely explanation for the study's results is that dutasteride is keeping tumors small or even shrinking them to the point that they are unlikely to be detected by a biopsy," said Andriole, who also treats patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center.

Dutasteride was most effective at reducing the risk of medium-grade tumors.

Copyright AFP


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A drug commonly used to shrink enlarged prostates in men has been found to also cut the risk of developing cancer in the same glands, a new study said.
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Monday, 05 Apr 2010 08:36 AM
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