In this section We'll try and keep current on the latest medical news about Prostate Cancer. If you see something we should add, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This page is NOT intended to be medical advice. Please consult your doctor for information specific to YOU.
Smoking and Prostate Cancer
Men with prostate cancer who are cigarette smokers at the time of their diagnosis are much more likely to die of the disease or experience a recurrence than nonsmokers, including former smokers who kicked the habit at least 10 years before diagnosis.
That's the conclusion of a new government-funded study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it's one more very good reason to quit smoking.
Compared with men who had never smoked, those who were actively smoking when their cancer was diagnosed were 61% more likely to die and 61% more likely to experience a recurrence. If you smoke, says lead researcher Stacey A. Kenfield, Sc.D., an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, "you will have a more aggressive cancer."
Even when the researchers took the severity of the cancer into account, however, smokers were still 38% more likely to die and 47 percent more likely to have a recurrence than nonsmokers.
"[These] data suggest that smokers develop cancers that are more likely to kill them," says Joshi Alumkal, M.D., a prostate cancer specialist at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland, who was not involved in the study. "Smoking is a key factor that determines how aggressive prostate cancer will be."
There is some good news for men who have quit smoking. Those who quit 10 years before getting a prostate cancer diagnosis were no more likely to die of the disease than men who had never smoked at all. And even men who quit less than a decade before diagnosis had similar survival rates to nonsmokers, provided they were not heavy smokers to begin with.
Urging patients to quit as early as possible is crucial, says Alumkal, who points out that even men in their 30s may be harboring cancerous tumors in their prostates.
Bone scans show prostate tumor shrinkage after Cabozantini
A new drug to treat prostate cancer shows early promise, particularly against tumors that have spread to the bone, a multi-site study shows.
The drug Cabozantinib is designed to target mainly two important pathways linked to the growth and spread of prostate cancer. The drug had the most effect on tumors that had spread to the bone.
“Not only did three-quarters of bone scans have partial or complete resolution, but this was accompanied by improvement in bone pain and decreased need for narcotic use,” says lead study author Maha Hussain, M.D., FACP, professor of internal medicine and urology and associate director of clinical research at the University Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Prostate cancer drug warnings from FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing healthcare professionals that the Warnings and Precautions section of the labels for the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) class of drugs has been revised to include new safety information about the increased risk of being diagnosed with a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer). This risk appears to be low, but healthcare professionals should be aware of this safety information, and weigh the known benefits against the potential risks when deciding to start or continue treatment with 5-ARIs in men.
Prostate cancer: high-dose, short-treatment stereotactic radiation safe, effective
In a multicenter clinical trial, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that higher doses of stereotactic radiation therapy requiring fewer treatments are safe and effective for patients with low-to-intermediate-risk prostate cancer.
Results of the trial, available in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which delivers ultra-precise radiation, was effective in treating patients with localized prostate cancer in five 30-minute sessions every other day over two weeks. That compares to the typical radiation protocol for prostate cancer of 42 to 45 daily treatments administered over eight to nine weeks.
Prostate cancer: why brisk walking may help: UCSF, Harvard School of Public Health study in the journal Cancer Research
A study of 1,455 U.S. men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer has found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression, according to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The scientists found that men who walked briskly -- at least three miles per hour -- for at least three hours per week after diagnosis were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop biochemical markers of cancer recurrence or need a second round of treatment for prostate cancer.
When rising PSA means prostate cancer is in patient's future
A man's rising PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level over several years – which had been seen as a possible warning sign of prostate cancer – has recently come under fire as a screening test because it sometimes prompts biopsies that turn out to be normal.
A new study, however, shows nearly 70 percent of men who had rising PSA levels and subsequent normal biopsies were eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The trend of a PSA level over several years is called PSA velocity.
"This underscores the importance of using a patient's individual PSA trend when deciding whether to pursue a prostate biopsy," said co-investigator Gregory Auffenberg, M.D., a resident in urology at the Feinberg School. "It's not enough to only look at an individual PSA value when historical data is also available."
Coffee may reduce risk of lethal prostate cancer in men
Men who regularly drink coffee appear to have a lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. What's more, the lower risk was evident among men who drank either regular or decaffeinated coffee.
The study examined the association between coffee consumption and the risk of prostate cancer, particularly the risk for aggressive prostate cancer among 47,911 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008. During the study period, 5,035 cases of prostate cancer were reported, including 642 fatal or metastatic cases.
Among the findings:
- Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer.
- The inverse association with coffee was even stronger for aggressive prostate cancer. Men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
- The reduction in risk was seen whether the men drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, and does not appear to be due to caffeine.
- Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer.
- Coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise, behaviors that may increase advanced prostate cancer risk. These and other lifestyle factors were controlled for in the study and coffee still was associated with a lower risk.
The results from this study need to be validated in additional populations that have a range of coffee exposure and a large number of lethal prostate cancer cases. If confirmed, the data would add to the list of other potential health benefits of coffee. The authors currently are planning additional studies to understand specific mechanisms by which coffee may specifically lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer.
Obesity linked to prostate cancer progression: Duke study
Even when treated with hormone therapy to suppress tumor growth, obese men face an elevated risk of their prostate cancer worsening, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found.
Men in the study group who were overweight or obese had a three-fold increased risk of cancer progression compared to normal-weight men, despite receiving the same treatment.
Additionally, overweight men had more than a three-fold increased risk of their cancer spreading to the bone compared to normal-weight men, while obese men had a five-fold increase in the risk of metastases.
New prostate cancer test more specific, sensitive than PSA test
A new test for prostate cancer that measures levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) as well as six specific antibodies found in the blood of men with the disease was more sensitive and more specific than the conventional PSA test used today, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The test, called the A+PSA assay, also reduced the rate of false-positives, tests that indicate the presence of cancer when no disease is actually present, said Gang Zeng, an associate professor of urology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the study.
"This is a very promising new approach," Zeng said. "Instead of using just one parameter, PSA, to test for prostate cancer, we use multiple parameters that can be measured in a single reaction."
The rate of false-positives using conventional PSA testing is 21 percent. With the new A+PSA assay, the false-positive rate is 16 percent, Zeng said.
Obesity linked to prostate cancer progression: Duke study
Long-term survival rates for patients with advanced prostate cancer suggest they can be good candidates for surgery, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Their study found a 20-year survival rate for 80 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer that has potentially spread beyond the prostate, known as cT3 prostate cancer, and treated with radical prostatectomy, or surgery to remove the prostate gland. Previously, patients found to have cT3 prostate cancer were offered radiation or hormone treatment, but not radical prostatectomy.
Tubby Smith, Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball coach, treated for Prostate Cancer
Gophers coach Tubby Smith recently learned that he had the early stages of prostate cancer. Through a university statement, the coach said an April 21 procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., removed the cancer. He also said that he's looking forward to next season.
“Amid speculation I want to make it aware that I did in fact undergo a procedure on April 21 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,” he said in the statement. “During my regular physical last spring it was discovered that my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were high. A biopsy was done and it was discovered that I had early stages of prostate cancer. I am happy to say that the cancer was contained and removed and I am now cancer free and feeling great.”
Cancer survivors number 12,000,000 in US
The number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. There were 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.
Study findings indicate:
* Of the 11.7 million people living with cancer in 2007, 7 million were ages 65 years or older.
* Women make up a large proportion of cancer survivors (54 percent).
* Breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors (22 percent), followed by prostate cancer survivors (19 percent) and colorectal cancer survivors (10 percent).
* Among all survivors, 4.7 million received their diagnosis 10 or more years earlier.
Surgery reduces risk of mortality due to prostate cancer even for low-risk groups
A Swedish research team partly consisting of researchers from Uppsala University followed a group of prostate cancer patients in the Nordic region for 15 years. The study found, among other things, that surgery reduces the risk that men with prostate cancer (even those with low-risk tumours) will die within 15 years. The results were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It was primarily younger men who benefitted from surgery. Analysis on the basis of age groups showed that men younger than 65 benefitted most. Among older men, there was no significant difference between the surgical group and the watchful-waiting group, presumably due to the fact that older men run a greater risk of mortality due to other illnesses, on account of which a much larger study would be required to show any difference.
The study, designated “SPCG-4” (Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study 4) was financed by the Swedish Cancer Society and, in recent years, also by the National Institutes of Health in the US.
A major study similar to the SPCG-4 study is currently under way in the US, with results expected soon.
Another large study, comparing surgical, radiation-therapeutic and watchful-waiting outcomes in connection with localised prostate cancer, is under way in the UK.
Researchers find that aspirin reduces the risk of cancer recurrence in prostate cancer patients
Some studies have shown that blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, can reduce biochemical failure––cancer recurrence that is detected by a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level––the risk of metastasis and even death in localized prostate cancer. These studies, although very telling, have all emphasized the need for more data. Now, with researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center having concluded the largest study on this topic, and there is substantial data suggesting that aspirin improves outcomes in prostate cancer patients who have received radiotherapy.
A team led by Mark Buyyounouski, M.D., M.S., a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, examined a database of over 2000 prostate cancer patients who underwent radiotherapy at Fox Chase between 1989 and 2006 and found that aspirin use lowers the risk of cancer recurrence. The scientists will present their findings on Sunday, May 1 at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Radium Society.
The team found that the 761 men who took aspirin at or after the time of radiotherapy were less likely to experience biochemical failure––as indicated by the levels of PSA––than were the 1380 men who didn't take the drug.
The readily available drug could be a promising supplement to radiotherapy in prostate cancer patients, and its beneficial effects may generalize to other types of cancer, Buyyounouski says. Still, he cautions that "it's a little premature to say that men need to start taking aspirin if they have a history of prostate cancer."