Should a Prostate Drug Be Used to Stop Cancer?

Should a Prostate Drug Be Used to Stop Cancer?

August 19th, 2013 // 1:14 pm @

Latest FDA and cGMP Compliance News

Do you think that the Proscar drug and its generic versions be used to stop prostate cancer? This question is going to get a lot of attention, due to a new clinical study that shows that the drug (finasteride) could increase the risk of developing aggressive tumors. This issue first came up in 2003 in a study that showed that the drug decreased the risk of getting prostate cancer by up to 30 percent.

Because of that study, FDA did not approve finasteride to stop prostate cancer. Instead, it mandated warnings on the label to reduce off unapproved uses. The drug currently is approved to reduce the size of enlarged prostates and also to thwart male pattern baldness. Now, a follow up study is showing that survival rates were about the same for men taking the pill as those who got a placebo.

The follow up study was produced in the New England Journal of Medicine, and was done to see if the drug could reduce prostate cancer risk in those who had an annual PSA screening test. The clinical researchers tracked 20000 men for 19 years since the time they enrolled in the earlier clinical study.

The data indicated that using finasteride over 7 years in a population of men with a median age of 62 years did cut prostate cancer risk, but did not have a major effect on mortality. The 15 year survival rate in each group was 79%.

These findings are likely to provide clearer ideas about the value of PSA tests, too. Last year, the US Preventive Services Task Force, came out with a controversial recommendation against PSA screenings over worries about overtreatment and overdiagnosis, with few lives saved.

In that study, men who took finasteride were 44% less likely to get diagnosed with prostate cancer of a low grade, which is the type that is most likely to cause treatment that is not necessary. The findings indicate that this drug could be a good option for men who decide to get screened. The authors of the study think that that drug might save 65,000 men each year from such diagnosis and treatment

The drug seems to cut the harm of the PSA, according to the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who helped to come up with the first study. It helps to make sure that men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer actually do need treatment.


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