Recent investigations of medications, diet and the molecular understanding of prostate cancer are defining potential prevention strategies for the disease, and herald a new stage in the management of this cancer, according to a new review. Writing in the November 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Neil Fleshner and Dr. Alexandre Zlotta from the University of Toronto say that available medications, such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and selective estrogen receptor modifiers, show promise in reducing malignancies. In addition, there is strong evidence that dietary fat significantly impacts disease development and promising data that other compounds, such as soy, selenium and green tea, offer additional possibilities for disease prevention.
Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed malignancies in men among Western, developed nations. In the United States, it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Generally, prostate cancer is a slow growing malignancy taking years to decades to become symptomatic. Drs. Fleshner and Zlotta point to studies that suggest prostate cells become malignant in men in their 20s and 30s and conclude , unless we intervene with men in their early 20s, prevention in the context of prostate cancer refers to a slowing of the growth of existing prostate cancer cells so that they never harm the host.
The authors reviewed the published literature to evaluate the progress towards developing an evidence-based prostate cancer prevention strategy. Current studies using existing drugs to prevent cancer have found that androgen suppressing 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5ARI), such as finasteride and dutasteride, and the selective estrogen receptor modifier, toremifine, have showed promise in reducing the number of cancers at biopsy in men. For example, dutasteride, has reduced by 50 percent the number of cancerous biopsies among men with benign
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