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.
A new study reports that men rarely regain normal sexual function after radical prostatectomy (RP). This was a small study of 210 men who completed a questionnaire nearly two years after surgery. Only 6.7% of men (14) reported having erectile function as good as it was before surgery. Why is this news coming just now? The researchers suggest that men were being asked the wrong question concerning erectile function. What we’d like to see is a much larger study of thousands of men that addresses this question at 2, 3, and 4 years years after surgery. We’d also like to know whether all of these men had traditional RP and used different surgeons. The results of the study were presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Madrid (this was first reported by Science Daily). March 31, 2015.
Men who currently smoke, or have stopped smoking less than a decade ago, have twice the risk of prostate cancer recurrence following radical prostatectomy. This comes from new research presented at the European Association of Urology conference in Madrid, as reported by Medical News Today. Researchers in a retrospective study followed 7,191 men for an average of 28 months. About one third of men were smokers, another third never smoked, and another third were former smokers. Even those men who quit smoking in the last 10 years had a significantly higher risk of their cancer coming back. Another good reason to stomp out smoking! March 24, 2015.
We know that chemotherapy with docetaxel is effective in men with prostate cancer who no longer respond to hormone treatment. Now a newer member of the taxane family of chemotherapy drugs called cabazitaxel is showing promise, according to a new study published online in Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers found that cabazitaxel was more effective than docetaxel against hormone-resistant, human prostate cancer cell lines in laboratory studies. Testing in actual humans is needed. What we would love to see is a study about the effectiveness of chemotherapy as an early treatment for advanced prostate cancer before hormone therapy. The protocol has always been chemotherapy following hormone therapy failure. But could early chemotherapy following a PSA rise after surgery and/or radiation be more effective or even curative? February 21, 2015.
There is a growing body of evidence (see the abstracts of current studies in the link below) that MRI-guided prostate biopsies may be more accurate in detecting prostate cancer than traditional transrectal ultrasound biopsies. Unfortunately, no current method of detecting prostate cancer is 100% accurate. Talk to your doctor and your insurance company as MRI-guided biopsies may be more expensive. February 19, 2015.
An interesting tidbit for wives/partners: a new study has demonstrated that combining high doses of Lupron Depot with Aricept helped stabilize memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a study of 109 women over a one-year period. Lupron Depot is a common type of hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer and Aricept is a drug commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. January 24, 2015.
It is fairly well established that the compound sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables (the mustard family of plants) like broccoli, can help prevent cancer. Now researchers at Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology are working to determine if it can be used to help treat advanced prostate cancer. According to an article published in the journal Oncogenesis, sulforaphane is a “promising molecule for development as a therapeutic agent" for men with metastatic prostate cancer. A clinical trial is being conducted to determine the effectiveness of sulforaphane supplements. January 22, 2015
Researchers have demonstrated a way to detect “cell-free” tumor DNA in the bloodstream, which may change the way cancers are detected, according to Vanderbilt University. It may also be used to help predict treatment results and how men respond to prostate cancer treatment. In a retrospective study, DNA was extracted from blood samples from more than 204 men with prostate cancer and compared to 207 men without the disease (called normal controls). The results of the study were published in the January issue of Clinical Chemistry. Using this new method — which is being called a “liquid biopsy” — researchers detected prostate cancer from the normal controls with an accuracy rate of 84%. The accuracy rate was even higher (90%, according to the published study abstract) for distinguishing prostate cancer from benign hyperplasia and prostatitis. Unlike a traditional biopsy, this method quantifies the inherent chromosomal instability of cancer and can be followed over time. It would certainly be a welcome change from an invasive biopsy, which can be quite uncomfortable for men. January 6, 2015.
Simple rectal swab cultures to test for drug-resistant “bugs” like Escherichia coli (E. coli.) can help prevent infections following prostate cancer biopsy, according to a study by Rhode Island Hospital researchers, which was recently published in Urology. These researchers found that about 12.8 percent of men had preexisting, drug-resistant E. coli. There was a 1 percent lower likelihood of post-biopsy infections (1.9 percent vs. 2.9 percent) and a decreased adjusted risk of infectious complications in men who received prophylaxis antimicrobial treatment based on pre-biopsy rectal swab culture results. December 11, 2014.
Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) was associated with a 5% absolute excess risk of cardiac-specific death in men with prostate cancer who have congestive heart failure, according to a new study by Ziehr et al, which was published in the October 29 online edition of BJU International. The study looked at 5,077 men with prostate cancer who were treated with brachytherapy with or without adding ADT therapy (called neoadjuvant ADT). After nearly five years, there was no association between ADT and heart-related deaths in men who had no cardiac risk factors. We’ve known for a long time that ADT has been linked to heart problems so this study is not surprising. Always discuss the potential benefit and risk of ADT therapy with a qualified healthcare professional. November 4, 2014.
Back in 2010, we reported that aspirin may lower the risk of death in men who have localized prostate cancer. Now a large study of 6,390 men has demonstrated that use of aspirin and/or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduced the risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 17%, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. At the start of the study, all men had a PSA level between 2.5 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL and a negative biopsy. Fifty percent of the men did not use aspirin, 21% were aspirin users, 18% used other NSAIDs, and 11% used both aspirin and NSAIDs. Always discuss the benefits and risks of taking aspirin or other NSAIDs with your doctor. October 14, 2014.
Men with prostate cancer who had high levels of total cholesterol (greater than 200 mg/dL and triglycerides (150 mg/dL or higher) had a 35% higher risk of cancer recurrence after prostate cancer surgery, according to a new study (Emma et al) published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. In men who had total serum cholesterol greater than 200 mg/dL (263 men out of 843 studied), every 10 mg/dL increase was associated with a 9% increased risk for recurrence of prostate cancer. On the flip side, for every 10 mg/dL increase in “heart-healthy” cholesterol (high density lipoprotein or HDL) in men with low HDL levels (less than 40 mg/dL), the risk of cancer recurrence was reduced by 39%. October 13, 2014.
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.
Always consult a medical professional.