Recent finding show lives could be saved if men are given the drug Finasteride to prevent prostate cancer. New analysis of data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial in the current issue of CANCER confirms this view. These results represent a milestone in cancer research, showing that prostate cancer could be prevented through drugs.
Finasteride a commonly used drug reduced the incidence of prostate cancer by 24.8 percent compared to a placebo. Possible increased occurrence of tumors would be offset by an increase in mortality.
The results of research by Joseph M. Unger, M.S. Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle showed a net-reduction in person-years saved over ten years using finasteride even after taking into account an increase in tumors.
The results showed a net reduction in person-years saved over ten years using finasteride even after taking into account an increase in high-grade cancers. Using PCPT's 24.8 percent reduction in new cases, the drug would save 316,760 person-years over ten years. An absolute increase in 6.9 percent of cases with high-grade disease (the difference seen in the PCPT) would still mean 262,567 person-years saved.
Based on this model, the authors conclude, "even if finasteride is found to potentiate the growth of high-grade tumors, this analysis shows that the potential detrimental effects of an increased rate of cases with high grade Gleason score would be substantially outweighed by a reduction in incidence."