Drug reduces prostate cancer risk

07/02/2003 - News

Drug reduces prostate cancer risk

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


A drug which reduces an enlarged prostate gland also reduces the risk of prostate cancer, a study finds.

Finasteride is commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition involving the enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH leads to urinary problems. Finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestostone (DHT) which helps to shrink the prostate gland and so relieve symptoms.

Researchers at the University of Texas have now found that finasteride also reduces the risk of prostate cancer. They report from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, a seven year study involving nearly 10,000 men showed that finasteride can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 25 per cent. However, the drug can also have some significant sexual side effects, which should be taken into account when balancing the benefit risk equation. It may also increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer in some patients.


New England Journal of Medicine on-line 24th June 2003

Created on: 07/02/2003
Reviewed on: 07/02/2003

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