The Prostate Cancer Blog for Wives and Partners lets you know when new information has been added to our site. Anytime a new page is created—or we feel there is something worth noting—it will be posted here.
Exelixis is reporting that its investigational prostate cancer treatment cabozantinib did not demonstrate a statistically significant increase in overall survival in a phase 3 study (COMET-1) of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, whose disease progressed after treatment with docetaxel as well as abiraterone and/or enzalutamide. According to top-line results from the final analysis of the trial, the median overall survival was 11 months for men who received cabozantinib compared to 9.8 months for men who received prednisone. September 2, 2014.
It should come as no surprise that men who are not well educated about prostate cancer find it much more difficult to make good decisions about their treatment. Now there’s even a new phrase for it: decisional conflict. When researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health Sciences surveyed 70 men at a Veteran’s Administration clinic who were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, they also found that men who were less knowledgeable about prostate cancer had less confidence that their treatment would be effective. Our main takeaway? Men need to take a more active role in researching prostate cancer treatment options and doctors need to spend more time educating their patients. The results of the UCLA study appear in the early online edition of Cancer. August 28, 2014.
The American Cancer Society released its first-ever, long-term care guidelines for prostate cancer survivors, which were published in the June 10 edition of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. It includes recommendations for healthy behaviors, testing for cancer, side effects from treatment, and coordinating care between members of the healthcare team. On a side note, next year the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer will require that every cancer patient receives a “survivorship care plan” from their oncologist. We say, “Bravo” that healthcare professionals are thinking about men who are well past the crisis point, but still need to stay on top of their health. August 23, 3014.
PSA screening helps decrease the number of men who die from prostate cancer by 40%, according to a recent Fox News Report. There has been a great deal of arguing over the years about the value — or harm — of PSA screening. All we can tell you is that our founder’s husband would never have been diagnosed at age 49 if his doctor had not recommended a PSA screening. But we do believe (and hope) that researchers will develop a much more specific test for detecting prostate cancer that will prevent unnecessary biopsies, subsequent complications that can result from invasive procedures, and undue anxiety. August 21, 2014.
Men who have a greater body mass index (or BMI, which is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight) have significantly higher rates of biochemical recurrence — the medical term for a rise in PSA — of prostate cancer after having a radical prostatectomy. This is the result of a study (Hayashi et al) of 703 Japanese men that was published in the May online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. In a larger study of 1,415 men five years ago, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that obesity increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer recurrence, whether he is African American or white. August 19, 2014.
High blood levels of folate may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published in the May online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. The Australian study authors (Tio et al) conducted a systematic review and quantitative meta analysis (in plain English: they reviewed published studies on four electronic databases, including PubMed and Medline). Folate (also called folic acid) is a fancy word for a B vitamin. Interestingly, the authors found that dietary folate — which you can get from leafy foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, and broccoli — did not appear to be significantly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Since the jury is still out on this, your best bet is to check with your doctor before consuming large quantities of folate through food or store-bought supplements. August 17, 2014.
Researchers (Siddiqui et al) who conducted the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the U.S. are reporting that vasectomy is associated with a small increase in the risk of lethal prostate cancer. Researchers followed 49,405 men over a period of 24 years. A quarter of the men (12,321) — who ranged in age from 40 to 75 years when the study started — had undergone a vasectomy. Of that number, 6,023 men were eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer. The results of the study were published in the July 7 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. July 21, 2014.
Some media outlets have been reporting that men who ride their bicycles more than nine hours a week are more likely to develop prostate cancer. That’s the fallacy. Researchers (Hollingworth et al) from University College in London examined the cycling habits of 5,282 men by conducting an online survey. Researchers reported that the risk of prostate cancer in men over age 50 increased as the hours a week they cycled (from less than 3.75 hours up to over 8.5 hours) increased. That’s the fact, but it may be that these men were simply more health conscious and were more likely to be diagnosed. This kind of association cannot be interpreted as a cause and effect. You need a controlled clinical trial that compares cyclists with men who do not cycle. PubMed Health states that 1.8% of men over age 50 reported they had prostate cancer, but this number was not included in the published study. Researchers also found that cycling had no effect on erectile dysfunction or infertility. The results of the study appear in the June issue of the Journal of Men’s Health. July 18, 2014.
Men with intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer who are also diagnosed with depression are less likely to seek surgery or radiation treatment for their disease, which results in poorer survival outcomes. This news comes from a study by Prasad et al, which was published in the July 7 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers looked at medical data of 41,275 men who had depressive disorder that was diagnosed in the two years prior to their diagnosis of localized prostate cancer. These men were older, white or Hispanic, unmarried, lived in nonmetropolitan areas, and had a lower median income. They also had other health problems. July 17, 2014.
Researchers at Rutgers University have found that men with prostate cancer who used hormone therapy (also known as androgen depravation therapy or ADT) as primary treatment — without surgery or radiation — did not experience improved outcomes in a new study that followed 66,000 men on Medicare, as reported by the Newark Star Ledger. Men who were treated with ADT alone did not live any longer than men who received no treatment. While this is not a startling revelation, it is an important confirmation for older men who may be too frail for surgery, but do not want to undergo radiation therapy. July 16, 2014.
Exercising twice a week for three months helped improve sexual function by 50% in men following treatment for prostate cancer, according to Australian researchers at Edith Cowan University. Unfortunately, they did not provide any additional information about the study, such as how many men participated or how long they exercised each day. We reached out to the contact for media, but received no reply. July 15, 2014.
Oregon Health and Science University has reported that enzalutamide (brand name Xtandi®) helped stopped disease progression in men with late-stage prostate cancer who did not yet receive chemotherapy. The results of the Knight Cancer Institute study (Beer et al) were presented at ASCO and published in the June 1 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Use of enzalutamide before chemotherapy cut the risk of disease progression by 81% in the PREVAIL trial of 1,717 men with metastatic prostate cancer that was getting worse despite hormone therapy. In this double-blind Phase II study, 872 men received enzalutamide while the other men got placebo (no medication). There was a 29% reduction in the risk of death and spread of cancer to the bone was prevented in the group that received enzalutamide. The drug was also proven to delay the need for chemotherapy. July 8, 2014.
We strive to remain neutral when reporting prostate cancer news, but every once in a while you read results from a study that just make you scratch your head. The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center is reporting that men with prostate cancer who receive radiation therapy are more likely to develop secondary bladder or rectal cancer than the general public. What a surprise. They also report that overall the incidence of these cancers is low. June 5, 2014.
Receiving the chemotherapy drug docetaxel before waiting for hormone therapy to become resistant helped men with newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer live a year or longer, according to a new study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that was presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. The study followed 790 men who were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and were randomized to receive hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy with docetaxel over 18 weeks. At the median follow-up of 29 months, 136 men in the hormone-only group had died compared to 101 men in the group who received both drugs. The addition of docetaxel also delayed disease progression. June 3, 2014.
Low testosterone may be an indicator of worsening disease in men with low-risk prostate cancer, according to a new study (Ignacio et al), which was published in the early online version of the May 4th edition of BJUI International. The study followed 154 men with low-risk prostate cancer who were on active surveillance (also known as watchful waiting). Men with free testosterone levels <0.45 ng/dL had a higher rate of disease classification than men with levels greater than or equal to 0.45 ng/dL. The study authors suggest that low testosterone levels may be associated with more aggressive prostate cancer. May 22, 2014.
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