Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PSA test better predicts cancer in men taking prostate-shrinking drug

17.12.2010
The PSA screening test for prostate cancer is not perfect. It can indicate cancer when none is present and miss life-threatening tumors. But a new study suggests the test is more reliable in men taking dutasteride (Avodart®), a drug widely prescribed to shrink an enlarged prostate gland.

Dutasteride lowers PSA levels by about half within six months. But the researchers found that even a slight rise in PSA levels among men taking the drug was a stronger indicator of prostate cancer, particularly aggressive tumors that require early diagnosis and treatment, than rising PSA levels in men who took a placebo.

"Dutasteride stabilizes the amount of PSA that comes from enlarged prostates and low-grade cancers," says lead author Gerald Andriole, MD, the Robert Killian Royce, MD, Distinguished Professor and chief of urologic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "This enhances a rising PSA's ability to detect high-grade cancers that require early diagnosis and treatment, while reducing the discovery of tumors that are unlikely to cause harm if left untreated."

The study is now available online and will be published in January in the Journal of Urology.

The PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. The larger a man's prostate, the more PSA he produces. Elevated levels can point to cancer. But PSA often rises naturally as men age, mainly due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a progressive enlargement of the prostate. This leads to many false positive PSA tests for cancer. Indeed, biopsies only find cancer in about one in four men with an elevated PSA.

In the new study, the researchers looked more closely at data from a four-year trial that evaluated whether dutasteride could reduce the risk of detecting prostate cancer in men with an increased risk of the disease. The study involved 8,231 men ages 50-75 who were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or a daily 0.5 mg dose of dutasteride. The men 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.

Results published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that dutasteride reduced the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 23 percent. Dutasteride appears to keep tumors small or shrink them to the point that they are less likely to be detected by a biopsy, says Andriole, who led the steering committee that oversaw the earlier trial.

In the current analysis, the researchers looked at the performance of PSA as a marker for prostate cancer, particularly for aggressive cancer. Among men taking dutasteride, the investigators found that any subsequent rise in PSA levels over the course of the study was more likely to be linked to aggressive, high-grade tumors (Gleason score 7-10), compared to rising PSA levels in men on a placebo.

The Gleason scoring system measures tumor aggressiveness based on biopsy results and can range from 2-10, with 10 being the most aggressive.

"If a man is taking dutastride and his PSA level starts to rise, he has a higher chance of having an aggressive cancer," Andriole says. "This makes PSA a more effective screening tool for prostate cancer but even more importantly for aggressive cancer."

Over four years, PSA levels increased in 72 percent of men taking a placebo and only 29 percent of men taking dutasteride, the data show. However, there was no significant difference in high-grade tumors between the two groups.

Men taking dutasteride were almost twice as likely to have aggressive prostate cancer if their PSA levels rose, compared to men whose PSA levels went up while taking a placebo. In men with any increase in PSA, aggressive, high-grade tumors were diagnosed in 13.2 percent of those on dutasteride and 7.7 percent of those taking a placebo.

Even a slight rise in PSA levels was a more accurate predictor of aggressive tumors. Among men whose PSA levels increased one point or less, 10.3 percent of those taking dutasteride had aggressive cancer, compared with 5.4 percent taking a placebo.

That trend also held for larger increases in PSA levels. Among men whose PSA levels rose two points or more, nearly 20.9 percent of those taking dutasteride had aggressive cancer, compared with 9.8 percent taking a placebo.

In contrast, PSA levels tended to decrease or remain stable in men taking dutasteride who either had low-grade tumors or no cancer at all.

The study's authors do not suggest that men take dutasteride just to get a more accurate readout of PSA levels attributable to cancer. "However, men who are taking dutasteride can be confident that the drug does not weaken the ability of PSA to find cancer if it develops," Andriole says. "Rather, the drug enhances the ability to find cancer if PSA levels are rising."

Editor's note: Dr. Andriole is a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avodart® and the study's sponsor.

Andriole GL, Bostwick D, Brawley OW, Gomella L, Marberger M, Montorsi F, Pettaway, Tammela TLJ, Teloken C, Tindall D, Freedland SJ, Somerville MC, Wilson TH, Fowler I, Castro R, Rittmaster RS. The effect of dutastride on the usefulness of prostate specific antigen for the diagnosis of high grade and clinical relevant prostate cancer in men with a previous negative biopsy: Results from the REDUCE study. Journal of Urology, January 2011.

Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Caroline Arbanas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

Further reports about: Andriole Avodart® Dutasteride PSA PSA level PSA test aggressive tumors prostate cancer urology

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>