Finasteride Not Linked to High-Grade Prostate Cancers
Adapted from the NCI Cancer Bulletin.
Finasteride is unlikely to induce high-grade prostate cancers in men who take the drug to prevent the disease, according to two studies released online Sept. 11, 2007, by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).
In 2003, the NCI-sponsored Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) found that finasteride reduced the overall incidence of prostate cancer by 25 percent, but was associated with a small increase in the number of high-grade cancers, which are often aggressive. It was not known whether the drug caused more high-grade prostate cancers or merely facilitated their detection. The new studies suggest the latter.
In the first study, Dr. Yael Cohen of Gamida Cell in Jerusalem and colleagues determined that finasteride reduces the volume of the prostate and therefore increases the likelihood of finding high-grade cancer cells in a biopsy. Finasteride accelerates the detection of high-grade cancer yet may not promote its development, they conclude.
The second study analyzed prostatectomies from the PCPT and found that the relative increase in high-grade tumors in the finasteride group was less than originally believed. The findings further suggest that enhanced detection may have contributed to the increase in high-grade disease in the finasteride group, reported a team led by Dr. M. Scott Lucia of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.