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

unction, Thompson believes men should be told routinely about the potential benefits of finasteride when they come to the doctors office for a PSA test, in much the same way patients at risk of heart disease are told about the benefits of statin drugs.

When the PCPT trial results were announced in 2003, it was unclear whether finasteride produced biological changes that could lead to more high-grade cancers. Researchers in the follow-up study analyzed tissue from biopsies and in men in the finasteride and placebo groups to compare hormonal levels and disease extent. They compared prostate size at the time of biopsy in the two groups. They also examined tumor grade and extent in men in the study who went on to have their prostates removed.

They found no significant differences in degenerative hormone changes when they examined high-grade tumor biopsies in men in both groups. However, the men taking finasteride had smaller prostates. Their biopsies correctly identified a higher proportion of high-grade tumors found later when their prostates were removed, compared to men in the placebo group.

In the study, the researchers conclude that finasteride may have contributed to the increased rate of high-grade cancers detected in the PCPT by making the prostate smaller, helping the biopsy find the cancer. They did not find evidence that the drug caused changes in tumor composition that might contribute to aggressive cancer, though they dont entirely rule out the possibility that finasteride may have led to high-grade prostate cancer in some men in the study.

The results suggest that high-grade cancer was detected earlier and was less extensive in the finasteride group than in the placebo group, the researchers write.


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Contact: Anne Rueter
arueter@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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