20 Aug 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Research conducted by University of Texas Health Science Center has revealed that the drug finasteride, which is the present in prostate drug Proscar and the hair-loss drug Propecia, reduces a the risk of prostate cancer by nearly a third. The research has been published in the August 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr Ian Thompson, lead author of the study and a urologist and professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, said that finasteride did not affect overall survival rates or survival rates after diagnosis with prostate cancer for men who did and did not receive the drug.
Dr Thompson said, "If indeed the more high-grade cancers in the men taking finasteride were real, we would expect to find a higher death rate. The survival of these men was exactly the same."
The study is an 18-year follow-up on the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which took place in the late 1990s. Back then, the trial found that finasteride could reduce overall risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent, but that it increased by 27 percent the risk of high-grade prostate cancer in those men who did wind up with the disease.
Dr Otis Brawley, chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, said that the increased diagnosis of high-grade prostate cancer likely occurs due to finasteride's effectiveness in shrinking enlarged prostates.