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Prostate Cancer

Obesity increases risk of prostate cancer recurrence for both blacks and whites

Cancer • • Prostate Cancer • • ObesityAug 13 09

A new look at a large database of prostate cancer patients shows that obesity plays no favorites when it comes to increasing the risk of recurrence after surgery: Being way overweight is equally bad for blacks and whites, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Studies have shown that obesity is linked to generally worse outcomes in many cancers, including prostate cancer. Because blacks are more likely than whites to develop and die from prostate cancer – and because there is a higher prevalence of obesity among black men with prostate cancer, compared to whites – some studies have suggested that obesity might be a more ominous risk factor for blacks than whites.

“Not so,” says Stephen Freedland, M.D., an associate professor of urology and pathology in the Duke Prostate Center and the senior author of the study appearing in the journal Cancer. “Obesity leads to worse cancer in both groups.”

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Scientists discover key event in prostate cancer progression

Cancer • • Prostate CancerJul 23 09

A study led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reveals how late-stage, hormone-independent prostate tumors gain the ability to grow without need of hormones.

The onset of hormone-independent growth marks an advanced and currently incurable stage of prostate cancer.

The study, published in the July 24, 2009, issue of the journal Cell, focuses on androgen receptors, molecules located in the nucleus of cells of the prostate gland and other tissues. Male sex hormones – androgens – bind with these receptors to activate genes that control cell growth.

The researchers show that in androgen-independent prostate cancer, androgen receptors are reprogrammed to regulate a group of genes involved in a different, later, phase of cell division, triggering rapid cell growth. They further show that a modification of a chief component of the chromosome is responsible for this reprogramming.

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Why African-Americans Fare Worse with Some Cancers

Cancer • • Breast Cancer • • Ovarian cancer • • Prostate CancerJul 08 09

An analysis of almost 20,000 patient records from the Southwest Oncology Group’s database of clinical trials finds, for the first time, that African-American breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer patients tend to die earlier than patients of other races even when they get identical medical treatment and other confounding socioeconomic factors are controlled for. The finding points to biological or host genetic factors as the potential source of the survival gap.

“When you look at the dialogue about the issue of race and cancer survival that’s gone on over the years,” says the paper’s lead author, Kathy Albain, M.D., a breast and lung cancer specialist at Loyola University’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, “it always seems to come down to general conclusions that African-Americans may in part have poorer access to quality treatment, may be diagnosed in later stages, and may not have the same standard of care delivered as Caucasian patients, leading to a disparity in survival.”

The study, which will be published online by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) on July 7, found that when treatment was uniform and differences in tumor prognostic factors, demographics, and socioeconomic status were controlled, there was in fact no statistically significant difference in survival based on race for a number of other cancers—lung, colon, lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma.

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Report: Prostate cancer screening has yet to prove its worth

Cancer • • Prostate CancerJun 29 09

The recent release of two large randomized trials suggests that if there is a benefit of screening, it is, at best, small, says a new report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Authored by Otis W. Brawley, M.D. of the American Cancer Society and Donna Ankerst, Ph.D. and Ian M. Thompson, M.D. of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the review says because prostate cancer is virtually ubiquitous in men as they age, it is clear that a goal of “finding more cancers” is not acceptable. Instead, public health principles demand that screening must reduce the risk of death from prostate cancer, reduce the suffering from prostate cancer, or reduce health care costs when compared with a non-screening scenario. The authors suggest prostate cancer screening has yet to reach one of these standards to date.

No major medical group, including the American Cancer Society, currently recommends routine prostate cancer screening for men at average risk. In the United States, prostate cancer will affect one man in six men during his lifetime. Since the mid-1980s, screening with the prostate–specific antigen (PSA) blood test has more than doubled the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis. The review says a decrease in prostate cancer death rates has been observed since that time, but the relative contribution of PSA testing as opposed to other factors, such as improved treatment, has been uncertain.

The report says a computer modeling study using National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries estimated that more than one in four cancers detected in whites (29 percent) and nearly half of cancers detected in blacks (44 percent) were overdiagnosed cancers. A similar model using data from Europe estimated a 50 percent overdiagnosis rate.

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Green tea may slow prostate tumor growth

Cancer • • Prostate CancerJun 24 09

Antioxidant compounds in green tea may help slow the growth and progression of prostate cancer, a preliminary study suggests.

Researchers found that among 26 men with prostate cancer, short-term treatment with the green tea compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) lowered the patients’ blood levels of several proteins linked to prostate cancer progression.

EGCG is the main polyphenol in green tea; polyphenols are antioxidant compounds that, research suggests, may help prevent the cell damage that promotes cancer development and progression.

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Major Statin Study Reveals Several Important Findings for Reducing Prostate Cancer and Disease

Cancer • • Prostate CancerApr 27 09

Statins, drugs widely prescribed to lower cholesterol, may have protective effects on prostate health. This large Mayo Clinic cohort study looked at three different aspects of urological health – prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and prostate enlargement. Initial research results are being presented April 25–30, 2009, at the American Urological Association (AUA) meeting in Chicago.

VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources, including excerpts from an interview with Drs. St. Sauver, Karnes and Breau describing the research, are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog. These materials are also subject to embargo, but may be accessed in advance by journalists for incorporation into stories. The password for this post is password Statin049.

These Mayo Clinic study findings came from data in the Olmsted County Study of Urinary Health Status among Men, a large cohort study of men living in Olmsted County, Minn. This study has followed 2,447 men ages 40 to 79 from 1990 to the present to assess various urologic outcomes among aging men.

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Expert Advice on Prostate Cancer Screenings

Cancer • • Prostate CancerApr 03 09

Recent studies have questioned the wisdom of getting regular tests for prostate cancer. Tulane University School of Medicine prostate cancer expert Dr. Oliver Sartor is available to talk about the latest treatments for prostate cancer and who should continue to seek annual tests for the deadly cancer.

Sartor is sought after by patients across the country because of his expertise in hard-to-treat cases and cutting-edge therapies at the forefront of cancer research. “Patients come to me because I deal with difficult cases, particularly those that have failed initial therapies,” Sartor says. “However, I am increasingly being consulted on early-stage cases to help patients understand and balance the risks and benefits of their therapeutic options.”

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Few major complications after prostate radiation

Cancer • • Prostate CancerFeb 13 09

Less than 7 percent of men with prostate cancer who have radiation therapy experience major complications in the first 30 days, new research shows.

Radiation therapy “is quite safe for older patients, although it is associated with a small but measurable increase in short-term major complications,” Dr. Shabbir M. H. Alibhai from University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada told Reuters Health.

Alibhai and colleagues compared major 30-day complications in men who had radiation therapy or radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) for early “organ-confined” prostate cancer.

Despite being older and having more co-existing illnesses, men who received radiation had lower complication rates in each category compared with men who had surgery, the investigators found.

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Family History of Prostate Cancer Does Not Affect Some Treatment Outcomes

Cancer • • Prostate CancerJan 03 09

In a first of its kind study, a first-degree family history of prostate cancer has no impact on the treatment outcomes of prostate cancer patients treated with brachytherapy (also called seed implants), and patients with this type of family history have clinical and pathologic characteristics similar to men with no family history at all, according to a January 1 study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

“This information is relevant for both physicians and patients with new diagnoses as they embark on complex treatment decisions,” Christopher A. Peters, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Northeast Radiation Oncology Center in Dunmore, Pa. (chief resident at Mount Sinai School of Medicine at the time of the study), said. “Now patients with a family history of prostate cancer can be confident that they have the same outcomes as patients with sporadic disease, regardless of the treatment modality they chose.”

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men behind skin cancer. Many patients diagnosed with prostate cancer have some type of family history of the disease and men with a family history do have an increased risk of developing the disease, but there is conflicting data on how family history impacts treatment outcomes.

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New study shows that a cough medicine ingredient could effectively treat prostate cancer

Cancer • • Prostate CancerDec 19 08

A study published today in the December issue of the European medical journal Anticancer Research demonstrates that an ingredient used in a common cough suppressant may be useful in treating advanced prostate cancer. Researchers found that noscapine, which has been used in cough medication for nearly 50 years, reduced tumor growth in mice by 60% and limited the spread of tumors by 65% without causing harmful side effects.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 186,320 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and 28,660 will die from it. One man in 6 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. Although slow-growing in most men, the cancer is considered advanced when it spreads beyond the prostate. There is no known cure.

The laboratory study was a joint effort by Dr. Israel Barken of the Prostate Cancer Research and Educational Foundation, Moshe Rogosnitzky of MedInsight Research Institute, and Dr. Jack Geller of The University of California San Diego. Noscapine has previously been studied as a treatment for breast, ovarian, colon, lung and brain cancer and for various lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and melanoma. This study, however, is the first to demonstrate its effectiveness in treating prostate cancer.

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Common Treatment for Chronic Prostatitis Fails to Reduce Symptoms

Cancer • • Prostate Cancer • • Urine ProblemsDec 19 08

Alfuzosin, a drug commonly prescribed for men with chronic prostatitis, a painful disorder of the prostate and surrounding pelvic area, failed to significantly reduce symptoms in recently diagnosed men who had not been previously treated with this drug, according to a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study is to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Although these results are disappointing, it is just as important to find out what doesn’t work as it is to know what does,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “We have conclusively shown that a drug commonly prescribed for men with chronic prostatitis did not significantly reduce symptoms compared to a placebo.”

Chronic prostatitis, which has no known cause and no uniformly effective therapy, is the most common type of prostatitis seen by physicians. Men with this condition experience pain in the genital and urinary tract areas, lower urinary tract symptoms such as pain in the bladder area and during urination, and sexual problems that can severely affect their quality of life. Population-based surveys estimate that 6 percent to 12 percent of men have prostatitis-like symptoms.

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Selenium, Vitamin E Do Not Prevent Prostate Cancer

Cancer • • Prostate CancerDec 10 08

Findings from one of the largest cancer chemoprevention trials ever conducted have concluded that selenium and vitamin E taken alone or in combination for an average of five and a half years did not prevent prostate cancer, according to a team of researchers coordinated by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) and led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic.

Data and analysis gathered through Oct. 23, 2008, from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) were published in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Scott M. Lippman, M.D., professor and chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson, Eric A. Klein, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and 30 coauthors from the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with some additional contribution from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the Phase III trial began recruitment in August 2001 and aimed to determine whether selenium, vitamin E, or both could prevent prostate cancer and other diseases in relatively healthy men.

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Prostate cancer not warded off by supplements

Cancer • • Prostate CancerOct 28 08

Selenium and vitamin E supplements do not prevent prostate cancer and may in fact be a little bit dangerous, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

The study of 35,000 men showed the supplements did not work together or alone to prevent prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men in the United States.

“As we continue to monitor the health of these 35,000 men, this information may help us understand why two nutrients that showed strong initial evidence to be able to prevent prostate cancer did not do so,” Dr. Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

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Prostate cancer hormone therapy may raise mortality

Cancer • • Prostate CancerSep 23 08

In elderly men with early-stage prostate cancer, receiving hormone therapy is associated with an increase in all-cause mortality, according to a study reported Tuesday at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting underway in Boston.

“Our study shows that for men over 70 with early-stage prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy as a form of treatment may do more harm than good,” said Dr. Amy M. Dosoretz, a radiation oncology resident at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, who led the study.

The findings of this study are “potentially practice-changing,” said Dr. Louis Harrison of Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, and moderator of a press briefing where the findings were released.

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Men with Health Risk Behaviors Unaware of PSA Test

Cancer • • Prostate Cancer • • Urine ProblemsSep 22 08

New research of 7,297 men in California, published in The Journal of Urology ®, shows that self-reported prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test awareness was lower in current smokers, physically inactive men and obese men—a population with what researchers called, “health risk behaviors.” This study shows the need for more publicity to raise awareness of prostate cancer screenings. There is no better time than Prostate Health Month to raise awareness about prostate cancer screening.

The AUA and the AUA Foundation are trying to reach out to the public about prostate health. We are pleased to be co-sponsoring a number of events with different community partners to promote prostate health, education and awareness. Please see the attached calendar of events for more information on free Webinars, free prostate cancer screenings and 5K Runs/1 Mile Fun Walks around the nation that raise money to fund prostate cancer research.

The American Urological Association (AUA) and AUA Foundation want men to know that prostate cancer is curable, if found early through prostate cancer screenings. The AUA recommends that both a PSA test and a digital rectal examination (DRE) be offered annually, beginning at age 50 years, to men who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. Men at high risk (those with a family history of prostate cancer or African American men) should consider beginning testing at an earlier age.

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