Promise For Prostate Cancer

Posted on: 04 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

A drug currently used to treat breast cancer in women, has been found to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer for men at high risk of developing the disease.

A drug currently used to treat breast cancer in women, has been found to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer for men at high risk of developing the disease.

In a recent conference at the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists found that patients at all dose levels for toremifene, which is currently used to treat breast cancer in women, had a lower incidence of cancer after 12 months of treatment, with the 20 mg dose contributing the greatest effect.

All participating patients had high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia or PIN, characterised by abnormal cells in the lining of the prostate ducts. Early research suggests that most patients with high-grade PIN will develop prostate cancer within 10 years, although more research is needed to confirm the findings.

"For men with high-grade PIN, the prospect of developing prostate cancer is a very real possibility," said prostate cancer expert Dr. Mitchell S. Steiner. "With no effective treatment options available, doctors and patients often feel defenseless against the onset of prostate cancer.

"Fortunately, these results offer a promising new preventive approach to prostate cancer treatment. A chemopreventive agent like toremifene is a first step toward the possibility of stopping prostate cancer before it starts and gives patients and doctors a chance to fight this pervasive disease."

In a multi-centre, double-blind study, 514 patients with high-grade PIN and no cancer, were randomised to placebo or toremifene 20 mg, 40 mg or 60 mg given orally once a day. Patients were reexamined at six and twelve months.

During the study, 24.4 percent of patients taking 20 mg dose of toremifene were diagnosed with prostate cancer versus 31.2 percent of patients taking placebo. Among the patients who completed 12 months of treatment, the reduction in prostate cancer incidence was 48 percent for patients receiving 20 mg of toremifene compared to those in the placebo group.

According to America's National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in America among men. With an estimated 220,000 new cases diagnosed each year, one in every five men will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. An estimated 29,900 American men lose their lives to prostate cancer each year.

 

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