A cheap drug intended for something else may help prevent prostate cancer.
Nineteen thousand volunteers in a clinical trial tested the drug Proscar to see if it could reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. The results released 5 years ago showed the 25% reduction over a 7 year period came with a red flag, warning that those who did end up with prostate cancer seemed to get a more deadly form.
Today, a new study makes a few changes in the old results. It says the cancer reduction part was right, but the danger signals were wrong.
Dr. Steve Kaplan, of NY Presbyterian Hospital, says, "We found that the drug actually works to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer - and more importantly did not increase the incidence of high grade cancers".
All of this is good news because the drug, Proscar, is already commonly used to treat an enlarged prostate. Moreover, millions take this same main ingredient under the drug name Propecia, which is used for hair loss. Scientists say they do not know yet if those patients treating hair loss are also getting the benefit of a reduced risk of prostate cancer.