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Drug reduces risk of prostate cancer diagnosis in high-risk men
Date:3/31/2010

A drug already prescribed to shrink benign, enlarged prostates has been shown to reduce the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 23 percent in men with an increased risk of the disease, a large international trial has found. Results are reported April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The four-year study found that dutasteride (Avodart) significantly reduced the chances that men would be diagnosed with the tumors that are most often treated excessively: those that fall in the mid-range of aggressiveness. These tumors, which account for the majority of all prostate cancers, grow unpredictably. This uncertainty leads many men to opt for surgery or radiation therapy treatments that can lead to incontinence and impotence.

"Dutasteride may potentially offer many thousands of men a way to reduce their risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer," says the study's lead author Gerald Andriole, MD, 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."

Andriole chaired the steering committee that oversaw the trial, known as REDUCE (Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events), which was conducted at 250 sites in 42 countries. It is the first to evaluate chemoprevention for prostate cancer in men at increased risk of disease. The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avodart.

The trial involved 8,231 men ages 50-75, who were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or a daily 0.5 mg dose of dutasteride, a drug that is known to shrink the prostate. Men in the study were considered to be at increased risk for prostate cancer because they had elevated PSA levels (2.5 ng/ml 10 ng/ml) but no evidence of cancer on biopsies performed within six months of enrolling in the trial.

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Contact: Caroline Arbanas
arbanasc@wustl.edu
314-286-0109
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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