Role of 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors in the management of prostate cancer.

Author(s): Hudak SJ,  Hernandez J,  Thompson IM

Journal: Clin Interv Aging

Date: 2006

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CCOP, PUCRG, COPTRG

PubMed ID: 18046919

PMC ID: PMC2699636

Abstract: Prostate cancer is one of the most complex and enigmatic oncologic problems in medicine. It is highly prevalent, particularly in elderly males. Unfortunately, its generally protracted and variable clinical course and high association with treatment-related morbidity raise serious questions about the ideal treatment strategy for the individual patient. 5 alpha-reductase (5AR) inhibitors have a dramatic effect on benign prostatic disease with low toxicity. Thus, there is much interest in the potential role of 5AR inhibitors in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. Finasteride is the only agent that has been shown in a randomized clinical trial to decrease the risk of prostate cancer with a reduction of almost 25%. Additionally, a recent analysis of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) has found that finasteride improves the performance characteristics of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test as a screening tool for prostate cancer, for both cancer detection as well as for detection of high risk disease. Finally, 5AR inhibitors have been studied as a component of multimodal therapy for all stages of prostate cancer, with the goal of improving oncologic outcomes while avoiding the toxicity of medical and surgical castration.