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Data re-analysis shows drug finasteride reduces risk for most prostate cancers
Date:5/20/2008

en what we call 'indolent,' meaning they grow so slowly they pose little real threat to the patient," Dr. Kaplan says. "So it was important to find out if this finding was real, or some kind of methodological artifact."

His team had one theory: "We know that finasteride shrinks the prostate. So perhaps that simply meant that doctors were better able to spot a highly aggressive tumor in patients taking the drug, because there was less tissue in which it could hide," explains senior author Dr. E. Darracott Vaughan, the James J. Colt Professor of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College and a urologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

With that in mind, the researchers looked once more at PCPT data on biopsies taken from the 18,882 men in the study. They adjusted for treatment type, age, race, family history of prostate cancer, baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and the individual patient's prostate volume.

"What we found was a significant reduction in the incidence of prostate cancers for men taking finasteride vs. placebo -- even for the higher-grade cancers," Dr. Kaplan says. "Most importantly, finasteride was associated with significant declines in tumors with Gleason scores 5, 6 and 7, which comprise 72 percent of all prostate cancers diagnosed in the United States. For tumors with Gleason scores of 8, 9 and 10, the incidence for men taking finastride was no higher than for men not taking the drug, after we had adjusted for prostate volume."

This means that men who are prescribed finasteride should not be concerned that the drug will boost their odds for aggressive prostate cancer. In fact, while it's too early to say that the drug prevents the disease, it may sometimes help suppress it when it occurs, the researchers say.

"I believe that the drug is chemo-suppressive," Dr. Kaplan says. "We know that it reduces PSA levels, which are indicative of prostatic disease. Finasterid
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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