Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Generic prostate drug helps find high-risk cancers early

13.09.2007
Drug that reduces prostate size and cancer risk also improves early detection

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 study’s 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 nation’s 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 researchers closed the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) early to report very good news. Study results showed that finasteride, commonly used to treat enlarged prostate, could also make a man one-fourth less likely to get prostate cancer.

But that positive overall result — which potentially could keep around 50,000 men from developing prostate cancer each year — was clouded by a troubling finding: Men who took the drug but still developed prostate cancer by the end of the study had higher rates of detected high-grade tumors, an aggressive form of the disease, than did men in the placebo group.

The follow-up study, along with two others published recently, strongly suggests that finasteride makes it easier for physicians to detect high-grade cancers early by improving screening tests and prostate biopsy itself. The two previous studies show that finasteride improves the effectiveness of the two main measures of possible problems: digital rectal examination and the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, which measures hormone changes associated with the disease. In some men who have low PSA test results, cancer is present but not found in time.

“Finasteride makes the PSA test perform better, so we can find the cancer earlier,” Thompson says. “Our current study also shows that by shrinking the prostate gland, finasteride makes a biopsy more sensitive for any cancers that are present.” That increased accuracy is very important, he adds, because if a biopsy reveals a slow-growing cancer but fails to spot a fast-growing one, a doctor and patient may take a “wait and see” approach when prompt treatment is actually needed.

In part because of concerns about possible drawbacks, most urologists, when asked about finasteride, say they seldom prescribe it as a prevention drug, despite the positive 2003 PCPT findings, Thompson says. Now, with several studies allaying concerns about the drug’s possible drawbacks, including concerns about sexual dysfunction, Thompson believes men should be told routinely about the potential benefits of finasteride when they come to the doctor’s 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 don’t 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.

Anne Rueter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swog.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>