Using Finasteride as Preventive Does Not Raise Chances of Dying from Prostate Cancer, Analysis Contends

Using Finasteride as Preventive Does Not Raise Chances of Dying from Prostate Cancer, Analysis Contends
Using finasteride to prevent prostate cancer does not raise the chances of dying from the disease among men who develop it, a recent analysis of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) shows. The study addresses concerns that prophylaxis (preventive use) with finasteride would raise men's probability of having a more aggressive cancer and reduce their chances of survival. "Finasteride is safe, inexpensive, and effective as a preventive strategy for prostate cancer," Ian Thompson, Jr, MD, principal investigator of the PCPT for SWOG, said in a press release. PCPT, a large clinical trial testing the drug's effectiveness as preventive in prostate cancer, indicated the treatment delayed or prevented the appearance of the cancer by 23%; however, it increased men’s chances of having a more aggressive cancer. In this recent analysis, team members who led the study explained their conclusions in a letter to the editor, “Long-Term Effects of Finasteride on Prostate Cancer Mortality,” published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine. A previous analysis of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) results —  a seven-year study looking at the effect of finasteride in preventing prostate cancer — concluded the drug could prevent or delay prostate cancer. Finasteride (sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia) is a generic agent used to treat hair loss in males and benign enlargement of the prostate, namely to prevent urinary tract symptoms and complications. Chemically speaking, finasteride is an inhibitor of 5α-reductase, which blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a primary male sex hormone that can stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. The PCPT study was a placebo-controlled, randomized
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