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Generic prostate drug helps find high-risk cancers early
Date:9/11/2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Men now have another good reason to consider taking finasteride, a well-known generic drug that shrinks an enlarged prostate and reduces the risk of getting prostate cancer by 25 percent. A new study from the Southwest Oncology Group strongly suggests that for men at risk of the disease which strikes one in six men finasteride also raises the odds that physicians will find fast-growing prostate cancers early, when they are most easily treatable.

It appears that a man concerned about prostate-cancer risk, who is having a PSA test on a regular basis, will not only reduce his risk of prostate cancer if he takes finasteride, but will help find the cancers that pose the highest risk, says Ian M. Thompson, M.D., the studys senior author and a urologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

The new results, embargoed until 4 p.m. Sept. 11, appear online ahead of print publication Sept. 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"This report provides an important interpretation of results that confounded an overall favorable interpretation of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial initially, and should help lessen fears that finasteride somehow causes more aggressive prostate cancer, says Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., M.D., Southwest Oncology Group associate chair for cancer control and prevention.

The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), headquartered at the University of Michigan and one of the nations largest National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trial networks, conducted the study to further analyze data from its National Cancer Institute-sponsored 18,882-man seven-year Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which in 2003 found that finasteride was an effective prevention agent. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved finasteride for use in cancer prevention; the drug is approved for treating enlarged prostate.

Four years ago, Southwest Oncology Group researche
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Contact: Anne Rueter
arueter@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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