The drug finasteride, used to treat the symptoms of prostate enlargement, may be a safe way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, suggest new data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August.
A decade ago the study found that finasteride reduced the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but subsequent analyses discovered that it resulted in a modestly increased risk of diagnosis with high-grade cancer. That led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a warning about this on the drug’s label.
After 18 years of followup, the new analysis confirmed that men who took the drug were one-third less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer overall. What’s reassuring is that while there continued to be slightly more high-grade cancers, there was no increase in the overall mortality rate.