A recent study evaluated the effects of finasteride (sold as Proscar) on the usefulness of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening to detect prostate cancer. Researchers determined that treatment with finasteride may differentiate individuals who have a rise in PSA due to cancer from those who have a rise due to other causes, such as benign enlargement and inflammation. The combination of finasteride with PSA to detect prostate cancer may decrease the rate of unnecessary biopsies.
A recent study found that the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen can prevent breast tenderness and breast pain in men treated with androgen suppression therapy for prostate cancer. Tamoxifen was more effective at reducing breast symptoms than another breast cancer medication or radiation therapy. Treatment was not associated with any significant side effects.
In a recent phase III clinical trial, the anti-androgen drug abiraterone (sold as Zytiga) improved survival from 11.2 months to 15.8 months in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Participants were treated with abiraterone in combination with prednisone, a common steroid medication. The most common side effects were fatigue, anemia, and back and bone pain.
Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center have identified a relationship between testosterone levels after radiation therapy and the risk of prostate cancer recurrence in a small number of patients. They found that individuals with a significant drop in testosterone were more likely to see a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA), possibly indicating recurrence. Further studies need to be conducted.
In a phase I clinical trial, a new drug that specifically targets prostate cancer cells has shown promising results. The drug, which combines an antibody protein that targets prostate cancer cells with a cancer-killing drug, has shown antitumor activity in advanced prostate cancer. A phase II clinical trial is being held to further evaluate the drug.
Focal laser thermal therapy (FLTT) is being studied at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for treating men with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. The procedure uses a focal laser to kill cancer cells, while sparing surrounding tissue and decreasing the risk of unwanted side effects. A phase III clinical trial is planned to start in the near future.
The FDA has approved a new chemical, choline C 11, to be used at the Mayo Clinic to help detect recurrent prostate cancer. The chemical will be used with PET imaging and may help detect recurrent prostate cancer much earlier than current methods. The chemical is not known to cause any significant side effects.
A recent study evaluated the molecular urine test PROGENSA PCA3 as a prostate cancer screening tool. The test is currently approved in conjunction with PSA testing to determine the need for repeat biopsies in individuals with a prior negative biopsy. The study found that when PROGENSA PCA 3 was used with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in individuals without a prior biopsy, unnecessary biopsies were avoided for 20% of the patients.