Prostate Cancer Blog Archive

For wives and partners

The Prostate Cancer Blog Archive provides news, information, helpful tips, and coping strategies for wives and partners of men with prostate cancer.

You can scroll down to see older posts, or use the search box to the right to search for a specific topic.  You may also want to visit the current blog.

 Turn Up the Heat Against Prostate Cancer

Focal laser ablation is a new type of treatment for prostate cancer that involves the application of heat, using a laser, to destroy cancerous tissue inside a tumor (guided by magnetic resonance imaging).  While it has not yet been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, early Phase I study results are promising with no reported serious adverse effects or changes in urinary or sexual function six months after the procedure, according to results published in the Journal of Urology (Natarajan et al), as reported by UCLA Health.  This was a very small study of 8 men and much larger studies will need to be conducted to verify both the safety and efficacy of this new approach before it becomes widely available.  June 21, 2016.

Study: Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer Might Consider Genetic Testing

Researchers have linked inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes (such as BRCA2) with a greater risk of lethal prostate cancer.  But men with localized prostate cancer (cancer that is confined to the prostate gland) usually do not undergo routine genetic testing because the incidence of having DNA-repair gene mutations is low (1.2 to 1.8% for BRCA2 alone).  In a recent study (Pritchard et al), however, researchers found that these DNA-repair gene mutations were present in 12% of 82 men with metastatic cancer, prompting the suggestion that “it may be of interest” to routinely examine all men with metastatic prostate cancer for genetic testing.  But the researchers admit there were multiple limitations with this study, which appeared online in the New England Journal of Medicine.  July 12, 2016.

 Study: Hormone Therapy May Not Be As Effective for African American Men

African American (AA) men with prostate cancer had an increased likelihood of dying after receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for an average of 4 months than non-AA men, according to a new study (Konstantin et al), as reported by Brigham and Women’s Hospital that was published in the August 4 issue of Cancer.  First, this was a retrospective study that analyzed the medical records of 7,252 men with low or favorable-intermediate risk of prostate cancer (20% of those men had ADT prior to brachytherapy).  A lot of factors can come into play in a retrospective study.  But it is noteworthy to report that the AA men had a 77% higher risk of death.  Randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.  August 9, 2016.

Study: Watch Your Waistline, Men

Every inch on a man’s waist counts with prostate cancer, according to a new University of Oxford study (Perez-Cornago et al) that followed more than 140,000 men (mean age of 52) across 8 countries over a period of 14 years.  Of the 7,000 men who developed prostate cancer, those men with a 37-inch waist had an 18% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer than men with a 33-inch waist, as reported by British media outlets, including The Telegraph and The Guardian.  Adding another 4 inches (41-inch waist) increased the risk of fatal prostate cancer by 36% (compared to men with a 33-inch waist). We have reported about BMI and prostate cancer before, and this study reported increased risk when BMI was measured. High-grade prostate cancer, which is more aggressive, was also associated with being overweight. What can a man do about it?  Try to maintain a weight that your doctor says is healthy for you. June 6, 2016.

Study: Patient-Physician Communication Critical to Survivor Health

While not surprising, patient-physician communication is critical for the health of prostate cancer survivors who have had their prostates surgically removed, according to a new study (Ernstmann et al) published in BJU International.  At least 3 years after prostatectomy, patient-physician communication was associated with helping men cope with their disease and for improving their health-related quality of life.  The authors of the study, which involved 1,772 men, suggest that a “trustful relationship” should be part of long-term follow-up care for prostate cancer patients and survivors.  May 16, 2016.

Study: PSA “Bounce” Reported After Radiation Therapy (In Sexually Active Men)

We already know that men may experience a rise in PSA after sexual activity (it is suggested to avoid sex a few days prior to testing).  Now men who are sexually active following radiation treatment for prostate cancer may experience a small rise and fall in PSA level, according to a new study by Japanese researchers (Matsushima et al) that was published in the International Journal of Urology.  These “bounces,” which may go on for years, have only been noted in men who have had radiation therapy.  Younger men appear to have a greater risk of experiencing them.  In the study, researchers looked at data from 154 men who had been treated with brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer and were followed for a minimum of 24 months.  Thirty-eight men (24.7%) experienced PSA bounce.  May 4, 2016.

New PSA Test On The Horizon?

A new and novel test can detect malignancies and differentiate between high-grade and low-grade prostate cancer, according to an interim analysis of a six-center clinical trial of 132 patients, as reported by the Cleveland Clinic at the American Urological Association annual meeting.  The new test identifies molecular changes in the prostate specific antigen (PSA) protein.  We all know that current PSA testing is not ideal, but it’s the only game in town.  This IsoPSA test identifies prostate cancer differently and demonstrated improved diagnostic accuracy in early clinical trial results.  We look forward to seeing the complete findings of the clinical trial when they are released.  May 13, 2016.

Study: Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Increases Risk of Depression

We’ve always known that depression is a potential negative side effect with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer.  Now a study (Dinh et al) published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has determined that men are at a “significantly increased risk” of developing depression with ADT and that risk increases with the length of therapy.  Researchers reviewed a database of about 79,000 men older than age 65 (from 1992 to 2006) who had stage I to stage III prostate cancer.  Overall, men who had ADT had a 23% increased risk of depression.  Researchers also found that the longer a man had ADT, the greater his risk of developing depression.  Twelve percent of men developed depression from with ≤ 6 months of ADT treatment; 26% of men developed depression with 7 to 11 months of ADT treatment, and 37% of men developed depression with ≥ 12 months of ADT treatment.  May 2, 2016.

Men: Move More With Prostate Cancer

Another study is touting the benefits of moderate to high-level physical activity to help improve a man's chance of surviving prostate cancer.  A reduced risk of prostate cancer specific mortality (death) has already been associated with vigorous physical activity, both before and after a man is diagnosed, according to research by Wang et al, which was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting this week.  Now, researchers say that “sitting time” (watching television, reading, sitting or driving in a car, etc.) is not associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer specific mortality.  The researchers looked at data from more than 10,000 men (ages 50 to 93) who did not have metastatic prostate cancer.  Men who exercised the most had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer than men who exercised the least. April 19, 2016. 

Study: Higher Dose Of Radiation In Shorter Timeframe May Be Just As Effective

Men with low-risk prostate cancer who receive a slightly higher dose of radiation for 5.6 weeks may be able to control their prostate cancer as well as men who receive standard radiation for 8 weeks, according to a new study (Lee at al) published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  At five years, overall survival and disease-free survival were the same between both groups.  April 13, 2016.

How Safe Is Active Surveillance?

One of the challenges of active surveillance (sometimes called watchful waiting) is that there is no way to predict if — or when — cancer may spread.  Now researchers are telling us that more than three percent of men who are on active surveillance had prostate cancer metastasis, according to a new study (Yamamoto et al) published in the The Journal of Urology.  In this single center, prospective cohort study, 30 of 980 men experienced prostate cancer metastasis.  The median age of men was 70 years, median PSA was 6.2 ng/ml, and median time to metastasis was 8.9 years.  Median follow up was 6.3 years.  The study authors conclude that active surveillance may be safe in men at low risk and certain patients at intermediate risk (Gleason score 6 and PSA > 10 ng/ml).  April 16, 2016

Study: Timing Of Hormone Treatment And Immunotherapy Is Important

Using animal (mouse) models, researchers have discovered that many types of androgen deprivation therapy may suppress a man’s adaptive immune responses — which could prevent immunotherapies from being effective — if both treatments are not timed properly.  These findings come from a study (Yang et al) that was published in Science Translational Medicine.  More studies are needed, but this is definitely something to discuss with your doctor if you will be receiving both types of therapies.  April 8, 2016.

Link Between Low Vitamin D and Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

Men with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have fast growing prostate cancer tumors than men with normal levels, according to a new study (Nyame et al), which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In this study of 190 men who had their prostate glands removed via surgery, close to 46 percent of men had more aggressive prostate cancer.  A significant number of those men also had low vitamin D (called serum 25-OH D) levels before they had surgery.  If these findings can be confirmed by a much larger study, serum 25-OH D levels may be a useful biomarker to predict aggressiveness of the disease.  March 3, 2016.

Study: Location of Prostate Cancer Metastasis Affects Survival Time

Men who have prostate cancer that spreads only to the lymph nodes may survive longer than men who have disease that has spread to other areas, according to a new study (Halabi et al) published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. When researchers analyzed data from 8,820 men with prostate cancer they found that men with liver metastases had the lowest median overall survival (MOS) of 13.5 months.  Men with lung metastases had MOS of 19.4 months.  Men with nonvisceral bone metastases had MOS of 21.3 months and men with lymph node only metastases had MOS of 31.6 months.  March 14, 2016.

Study: Higher Survival Rate For Men Treated At Busy Radiation Centers

Men who received radiation treatment for prostate cancer from centers that frequently perform radiation therapy had a better overall survival rate, according to a new study (Chen et al) published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics. When researchers analyzed data from more than 19,500 men with prostate cancer who were treated with radiation at 1,099 facilities, they found a small difference in the 7-year overall survival of men who were treated at a facility in the top 20 percent for radiation volume (76% vs 74%) compared to men treated at centers in the bottom 80% percent for radiation volume.  A center that treated over 43 men per year was considered to be in the top 20 percent for radiation volume.  March 28, 2016.

Seeing the Light During Prostate Cancer Surgery

Researchers have found a way to tell the difference between malignant and benign prostate tissue with a reported 85 percent sensitivity, 86 percent specificity, and 86 percent accuracy, according to a small study that was recently published in the Journal of Urology.  Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center used a tool called light reflectance spectroscopy (LRS) to analyze 17 prostate gland specimens after they were removed during surgery.  LRS measures light intensity that is reflected or backscattered from tissues.  While further studies are needed, LRS may one day help surgeons determine in real time how much tissue surrounding the prostate gland needs to be removed (called surgical margins).  February 29, 2016.

Male Baldness: Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer Death?

Male pattern baldness has long been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in observational studies (studies that draw influences from a sample to a population but the independent variable is not under the control of the researcher).  Now results of a prospective study that followed men over time (called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study or NHEFS) suggest that bald men have a 1.5 times greater risk of death due to prostate cancer. Researchers looked at data from 4,316 men in the study (called a cohort) who had no previous cancer diagnosis at baseline and were 25 to 74 years old.  Of that number, 107 men died from prostate cancer.  Before baldness can be considered a conclusive risk factor for prostate cancer, the study results should be replicated. February 20, 2016.

New Prognostic Biomarker May Help Determine Treatment Timeline

Researchers working at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a new prognostic biomarker that is very specific to prostate cancer cells (a neuropeptide called pro-NPY), which may help predict a man’s risk of dying from the disease.  It may also help doctors determine if a man should have surgery (radical prostatectomy) when he is first diagnosed with prostate cancer, or whether surgery can safely be delayed. February 16, 2016.

Aspirin For Prostate Cancer (Again)

Aspirin is back in the news again.  This time, researchers believe it may help cut the risk of death in men who have prostate cancer.  Before you reach for the aspirin bottle, know that this was a study where researchers looked at data from 22,017 men (3,193 developed prostate cancer) who participated in Harvard University’s Physician’s Health Study over a period of 27 years.  Of those men, 402 developed lethal cancer.  Men who took more than 3 aspirin tablets a week were 24% less likely to die from the disease.  But this was not a randomized controlled study so there may have been other factors that could influence outcomes.  Due to bleeding risk, always check with your doctor before starting an aspirin regimen. January 24, 2016. 

Join the Prostate Cancer Registry

Prostate cancer survivors are being invited to share their experiences in a web-based Prostate Cancer Registry that was developed by the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development at Clark Atlanta University in partnership with the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition.  The registry is designed to gather information about men’s experiences and needs, which will be used to fuel research. It will also monitor trends and changes in the epidemiological, emotional, and health status of prostate cancer survivors. February 9, 2016.

Obesity and Prostate Cancer

The association between being overweight and aggressive prostate cancer just got clearer.  Researchers (Laurent et al) now know that a fatty deposit that surrounds the prostate (called periprostatic adipose tissue) may be invaded by tumor cells, which can lead to prostate cancer spreading to nearby organs.  This happens more frequently in obese men due to the fact that they have more fatty deposit cells (called adipocyte cells).  When these cells secrete chemokines (signaling proteins), they attract prostate cancer tumor cells. January 20, 2016.

Exercise As Treatment For Prostate Cancer?

Researchers in the United Kingdom are launching a small study (50 men) to see if exercise may be effective as a treatment for prostate cancer that has not spread (called localized prostate cancer). Twenty-five men will exercise two-and-a-half hours every week for a year with a trainer.  The other 25 men will be given information about the benefits of exercise but will not be supervised.  While this is not what we would consider to be a large or robust clinical trial, we’ll be eager to see the results.  January 16, 2016.

New Grading System for Prostate Cancer

Choosing treatment options may be easier with a new five-tiered grading system for prostate cancer, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins, who developed it.  The new system is based on data from more than 20,000 men.  While the current Gleason System has 25 possible scores, with the new system, 1 is the least aggressive cancer and 5 is the most aggressive.  It remains to be seen how quickly the new system will be endorsed by leading U.S. medical organizations.  So far, the World Health Organization and the International Society of Urological Pathology are on board with it.  January 11, 2016.

Study: Vigorous Exercise And Lifestyle Factors May Protect Against Lethal Prostate Cancer

Middle aged men who regularly worked up a sweat during exercise, had a body mass index (BMI) < 30, didn’t smoke for at least 10 years, and ate fatty fish and tomatoes (but stayed away from processed meat) had up to a 68 percent decreased risk of lethal prostate cancer, according to a study where combined data (from 2 studies) from more than 62,000 men ages 40 to 84 was analyzed for over 20 years.  The study (Kenfield et al) was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Researchers developed a lifestyle score and one point was given for each of the previously mentioned factors.  There were 576 cases of lethal prostate cancer.  December 1, 2015.

Study: Hormone Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Men who undergo androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study (Nead et al) that was published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Researchers looked at data from close to 17,000 men and found that men who had ADT were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as men who did not have hormone treatment.  ADT for more than 12 months was also associated with a more than doubled risk. But in a study like this (called a retrospective study), there are many uncontrolled variables.  The researchers admit that this study does not prove a definite link between hormone therapy and Alzheimer’s disease. But it is certainly something to discuss with your doctor. December 4, 2015.

FDA Approves HIFU For Prostate Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as a treatment for prostate cancer in the U.S.  This minimally invasive treatment works to protect healthy tissues while targeting prostate cancer with high intensity ultrasound energy that heats and destroys cancer cells.  It has been used outside the U.S. for more than a decade. November 14, 2015.

Blood Test May Predict Hormone Treatment Resistance

A new blood test may help determine whether or not men with prostate cancer may benefit from treatment with abiraterone (a type of hormone treatment), according to results of a small Italian study (Romanel et al) published in Science Translational Medicine.  When researchers analyzed 274 blood samples taken from 97 men, they found mutations in a gene (androgen receptor), which predicted resistance to abiraterone.  Men with these mutations were nearly 5 times less likely to have a partial response (defined as a 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen [PSA]) to treatment with abiraterone and were nearly 8 times less likely to have a full response (greater than 90% decline in PSA).  While promising, larger studies are needed to confirm the reliability of the test.  November 18, 2015.

PSA Testing Cut Rate of Metastatic Cancer By 50% in 1990s

The incidence of metastatic prostate cancer was almost cut in half with widespread PSA testing in 1990s, according to a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The median age of diagnosis also fell by 2 years from 71.8 years to 69.8 years for advanced prostate cancer in men over 40 years of age.  November 1, 2015.

Study: Supplements Provide No Value For Men Receiving Radiation Therapy

Men undergoing radiation therapy get no benefit from supplements that contain palmetto or other ingredients, including improving their prognosis or reducing radiation therapy toxicity, according to new research that was presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.  The retrospective study looked at 2,207 men who were treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer.  Interestingly, only 10% of men were taking supplements for men’s health or prostate health.  Half were taking some kind of supplement.  November 5, 2015.

Study: Family History Not Related to Higher Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

While having a family member with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, it doesn’t mean he will have a higher risk of having aggressive disease, according to a study in <i>BJU International</i>, as reported by AFR Weekend.  Swiss researchers followed nearly 5,000 men who had PSA testing every four years.  Within that group, 334 men had a family history of prostate cancer (18% of these men developed the disease).  In the group of men who did not have a family history, 12% developed prostate cancer.  Researchers found that there was no significant difference in markers or scores among men in both groups, following radical prostatectomy.  November 12, 2015.

Will The PSA Screening Pendulum Swing (Again)?

Back in 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) proclaimed that the potential harms of PSA-based screening outweighed the benefits (such as early detection).  To no-one’s surprise really, investigators (Barocas et al) are now reporting in the Journal of Urology that there was an overall 28% decrease in incident diagnoses of prostate cancer in the year after the USPSTF recommendation.  Diagnoses of low, intermediate, and high-risk prostate cancers all decreased significantly while new diagnoses of non-localized prostate cancer remained unchanged.  In simple terms, this study is clear proof that less PSA screening puts more men at risk for the potential harms associated with a delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer.  October 27, 2015.


UK Study: More Radiation Less Often As Effective

Giving men higher doses of radiotherapy — but less often — can be as effective for treating prostate cancer, according to results of a large UK study of 3,216 men with localized prostate cancer that was presented recently at the 2015 European Cancer Congress.  There were 3 groups of men: Group 1 received standard radiation (74 Gy over 37 days), Group 2 received 60 Gy over 20 days, and Group 3 received 57 Gy over 19 days. After following the men for 5 years, researchers found that the radiation provided to men in Group 2 was as effective as standard treatment, both in treating prostate cancer and for long-term side effects.  Bowel and bladder problems were higher in the short-term, but there was no difference after 6 months, or over the next 5 years. October 20, 2015.

New And Improved PSA Test?

Here’s some encouraging news: There is a new catalyst — made of palladium nanocubes coated with iridium — that can make a standard PSA test 110 times more sensitive, according to research that was published online in ACS Nano.  The discovery was made by a team of graduate students from several colleges.  If developed commercially, it has the promise of advancing early cancer detection.  September 25, 2015. 

 Men with Prostate Cancer Ready To Become Cyborgs?

Men are open to the idea of having cancer-detecting biosensors implanted into their bodies — which will essentially make them cyborgs — according to new research published in Science as Culture (Haddow, et al).  When men with prostate cancer were interviewed, they expressed that they would accept biosensors that could warn doctors if they experience cancer recurrence.  The study also suggests that men who have cancer are pretty much willing to try any technology despite the risk of device failure. September 28, 2015.

Study: Testosterone Therapy and Prostate Cancer Risk

We know that testosterone fuels prostate cancer.  But a new study that was recently published in the Journal of Urology (Baillargeon et al) found that long-term exposure to testosterone therapy (for medical reasons) was not associated with a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.  Nor did the risk of high-grade prostate cancer increase.  Researchers found 52,579 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Of that number, 574 used testosterone up to five years before their diagnoses.  But this was a population-based study that relied on a database of men on Medicare, which means they were all 65 years or older.  So we cannot apply these findings to all men with prostate cancer, especially younger men.  October 13, 2015.

Study: Chemotherapy Plus Immunotherapy Promising for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Combing chemotherapy with immunotherapy (now called chemoimmunotherapy), achieved near complete remission in mouse models of advanced prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  The results of this study (Font-Burgada et al) were published in the April 29 edition of Nature.  May 5, 2015. 

Study: Western Diet Leads to Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer-Related Death

 We know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent prostate cancer.  Now researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are reporting that men with prostate cancer who eat a Western diet high in red and processed meats, high-fat dairy foods, and refined grains had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer-related death.  Researchers (Meng et al) followed 926 men with prostate cancer over an average of 14 years after their diagnosis.  Men who ate prudently had a 36% lower risk of death from all causes.  Eating prudently means making healthier choices, such as fresh fruit over cupcakes, steamed broccoli instead of French fries, broiled fish rather than grilled filet mignon, and whole-grain foods over sugary cereals.  The results of study were published in the June 1 online journal Cancer Prevention Research.  June 4, 2015.

Chemotherapy: No Longer A Last-resort Treatment?

Chemotherapy may be an earlier option for men with high-risk, localized prostate cancer, according to research that was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting.  There have been several trials (CHAARTED, STAMPEDE, and the recent RTOG 0521) that have led researchers to suggest that using docetaxel may have greater benefit if it is used earlier in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer that is potentially curable.  This is exciting news for men who experience a rise in PSA following primary or even secondary treatment whose cancer is still believed to be localized.  While some are expressing concerns about toxicity of docetaxel and the robustness of the RTOG 0521 trial, we hope that this will spur larger clinical trials where earlier use of chemotherapy with hormone treatment is stringently studied.  June 21, 2015.

Survey: Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer Often Ignore Symptoms

Nearly 7 in 10 men sometimes ignore their symptoms of prostate cancer, according to a recent Harris Poll survey that was commissioned by Bayer HealthCare and a partnership of prostate cancer patient support groups.  More than 410 men with advanced prostate cancer and 95 caregivers revealed that 39% of men surveyed waited to tell their healthcare team about symptoms they were experiencing, even though more than half (52%) associated symptoms like pain with their prostate cancer getting worse.  One in 5 men experience pain for one year or longer prior to a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer.  Why don’t men speak up?  One in 5 men (22%) reported they feel weak talking about their pain and 55% feel it’s just something they have to live with. Interestingly, caregivers had differing opinions on the impact of advanced prostate cancer on men’s lives.  The most common advanced prostate cancer symptoms experienced by survey respondents with cancer that spread to their bones included fatigue, pain or aches in specific areas, general all-over-body pain or aches, numbness or weakness, difficulty sleeping as a result of pain, anxiety or distress as a result of pain, and difficulty doing normal activities. The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer are the focus of a new Men Who Speak Up educational initiative and website, which is designed to get men to speak to their doctors about treatment.  June 11, 2015.

Emotionally Distressed Men May Choose Prostate Cancer Surgery

The more emotionally distressed a man feels about his prostate cancer, the more likely he may be to choose more aggressive treatment even if he has lower-risk disease, according to a study (Orom et al) led by the University of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  Researchers assessed 1,050 men with clinically localized prostate cancer.  Lack of confidence in deciding how to treat prostate cancer, fear that cancer would spread, and threat to masculinity were all factors that led to greater emotional distress.  In a perfect world, physicians should factor in emotional distress when counseling patients and caregivers.  The study has not yet been published, but results first appeared online in Psychooncology in the beginning of the year.  June 13, 2015.

Study: Link Between Smoking and Prostate Cancer

We’ve known for decades that smoking of any form isn’t healthy, but now cigarette smoking has been associated with twice the risk of prostate cancer recurrence in a retrospective study of 6,538 men (2,238 had never smoked, 2086 were former smokers, and 2214 were current smokers) who had radical prostatectomy, according to researchers at the Medical University of Vienna.  Even ex-smokers had this higher risk, but researchers said the effects were mitigated in men who had quit for 10 years or longer.  None of the men received other treatments before surgery, such as radiation, hormone treatment, or chemotherapy.  Their cancer also had not metastasized (spread) when they were first diagnosed.  Results of the study (Rieken et al) appeared online in the June issue of European Urology.  June 23, 2015.  

Don’t Hold The Olive Oil With Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society advocates a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat (think turkey vs steak) to help prevent prostate cancer.  Now researchers in New Zealand suggest that a Mediterranean-type diet may help men who have prostate cancer.  In this very small study (Erdrich et al), 20 men with prostate cancer, who were not receiving treatment and were under age 75 (Gleason score 6-7 [3+3 or 3+4]) ate a diet for 3 months that was rich in extra virgin olive oil (233 mg/kg per month), fresh frozen salmon (200 grams per week), unsweetened pomegranate juice (1 liter per week), canned legumes, and 2 cups of green tea a day.  They also ate whole grains and substituted chicken for red meat.  Researchers evaluated PSA level, C-reactive protein, and DNA damage at baseline and again after 3 months.  Reductions in DNA damage were noted (DNA damage as been associated with prostate cancer risk).  But there were no statistically significant relationships between the diet and C-reactive protein or PSA.  July 23, 2015.

Biomarkers Predict Aggressive Prostate Cancer in African American Men

Six biomarkers that were used together predicted aggressive prostate cancer in men of color, according to a study (Yamoah et al) that was published in the July 20th online edition of the <i>Journal of Clinical Oncology.</i>  Researchers looked at 20 biomarkers in 154 African American men and 243 European American men from four different medical centers who underwent a radical prostatectomy and had lymph nodes removed.  They identified 6 biomarkers (ERG, AMACR, SPINK1, NKX3-1, GOLM1 and an androgen receptor) that showed statistically significant differential expression between the two groups of men.  African American men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. July 25, 2015.

Radiation: More Isn’t Better For Men With Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

Higher radiation doses are only beneficial for men with medium- and high-risk prostate cancer, according to a new study (Kalbasi et al) from researchers at Penn Medicine, which was published in the July 16th online edition of JAMA.  When researchers compared overall survival from medical records of 12,229 men with low-risk prostate cancer to 16,714 men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, and 13,538 men with high-risk prostate cancer, they determined that there was no survival benefit for men in the low-risk group.  For every incremental increase of about 2 Gy in radiation dose, there was a 7.8% and 6.3% reduction in the hazard of death in for intermediate and high-risk men with prostate cancer respectively.  July 30, 2015.

Study: Pomegranate Extract and PSA Doubling Time

Daily pomegranate extract (8 ounces of liquid extract per day) did not significantly prolong PSA doubling time compared to juice or placebo in a new study (Pantuck et al) of men being treated for prostate cancer, which was published in the July 14 online edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.  In this study, 102 men who had a rising PSA received pomegranate extract, 17 men drank juice, and 64 men received placebo.  The majority of men underwent prior surgery or radiation therapy and had prostate cancer initially staged as T2c or less.  The median PSA doubling time increased by 4.5 months in the placebo group (11.1 to 15.6 months).  Doubling time increased by 1.6 months in the pomegranate extract group (from 12.9 months to 14.5 months).  In the juice group, PSA doubling time increased by 7.6 months (12.7 to 20.3 months).  But none of the changes between the three groups were significantly significant. August 17, 2015.

Study: Chemotherapy Plus Immunotherapy Promising for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Combing chemotherapy with immunotherapy (now called chemoimmunotherapy), achieved near complete remission in mouse models of advanced prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  The results of this study (Font-Burgada et al) were published in the April 29 edition of Nature.  May 5, 2015. 

Smoking Increases Prostate Cancer Recurrence After Surgery

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.

Study: Regaining Normal Sexual Function “Rare” After Surgery

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.

Prostate Cancer Treatment For Women?

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.

Eat Your Broccoli

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.

“Liquid Biopsy:” Will it Transform Prostate Cancer Detection?

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.

Before Biopsy: Swabbing Reduced Infections

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.

Hormone Therapy and Heart Problems

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 <i>BJU International.</i> 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.

Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

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.

High Cholesterol/Triglycerides Linked to Prostate Cancer Recurrence

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 prostate cancer recurrence after prostate cancer surgery, according to a new study (Emma et al) published in <i> Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.</i> In the 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.

Cabozantinib Fails in Phase 3 Clinical Trial

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.

More Knowledge Leads to Easier Prostate Cancer Treatment Choices

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.

New Care Guidelines for Prostate Cancer Survivors

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, 2014.

PSA Testing Does Save Lives

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.

Another Good Reason to Try to Lose Weight

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.

Hold the Folate?

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.

Study: Vasectomy Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

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.

Bicycling and Prostate Cancer: Facts and Fallacies

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.

Depression Affects Prostate Cancer Outcomes

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.

Study Confirms Hormone Therapy Is Ineffective Primary Treatment

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.

Study: Exercise Improves Sex Life

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.

Enzalutamide Before Chemotherapy Reduces Cancer Progression Risk

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.

Study: Radiation Therapy and Secondary Cancers

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.

Study: Docetaxel Extends Life In Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

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.

Study: Low Testosterone and Men with Low-risk Prostate Cancer

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.

Specialty Bias in Treatment Recommendations

We’ve always stated that treatment recommendations tend to be biased based on the specialist you work with. Now it’s been proven by a national survey. Kim et al randomly sent a self-administered survey to 1,366 specialists. Not surprisingly, urologists were more likely to recommend surgery than radiation oncologists. And radiation oncologists were more likely to recommend radiation therapy than urologists. Both specialists prefer the treatments they offer, believe they are more effective, and lead to a better quality of life. It is always good to keep this in the back of your mind when you are interviewing specialists. You can read the published results of the survey in the May edition of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease. May 20, 2014.

Study: Link Between Vitamin D Levels and Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Once heralded as the wonder drug, vitamin D has lost favor among some in recent years. Now a new study (Murphy et al) that appears online in the May 1 edition of Clinical Cancer Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is an indicator of aggressive prostate cancer. Researchers followed 667 men, ages 40 to 79, who were going to have a biopsy for prostate cancer following an abnormal PSA test or digital rectal exam (DRE). Within that group, 273 men were African-American (AA), 275 were European American (EA), and 168 men from each group were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The EA men who had low levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D levels less than 12 ng/ml) had 3.66 times greater odds of having aggressive cancer (Gleason grade of 4+4 or higher) and the AA men had 4.89 times greater odds. The chance of having a tumor stage of T2b or higher was 2.42 times greater in the EA men and 4.22 times greater in the AA men. May 18, 2014.

Study: Statin Protection Against Prostate Cancer Recurrence


More good news about statins: men with prostate cancer who started taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs after radical prostatectomy were 36% less likely to experience a recurrence of their prostate cancer. In this retrospective analysis, Duke Medicine researchers followed 1,146 men who had prostate cancer surgery over a median period of six years. In the group of 400 men who took statins after surgery, 65 had a recurrence of cancer. In the group of 746 men who never took statins, 337 men had a recurrence of cancer. In a secondary analysis, however, the protective effect from statin use was only statistically significant in men who were not African American. You can find the results of the study (Allott et al) online in the early view of theBJU International for May 8. May 17, 2014.

First Dogs, Now Electronic Noses to Sniff Out Prostate Cancer

A new device using an electronic nose may make it easier to provide early diagnosis of prostate cancer, according to researchers from Finland (Roine et al) in a paper published in advance online that will appear in the July issue of the Journal of Urology. In an early proof of principle study, an electronic nose called the eNose discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by “sniffing” the space directly above a urine sample. The researchers state that the eNose results are comparable to PSA testing, as reported in previous literature. Further studies need to be conducted before this device can be approved for use as an effective diagnostic tool. May 15, 2014.

Study: Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Men who had chronic inflammation in benign prostate tissue taken from biopsies were nearly two times more likely to have prostate cancer than men with no inflammation, according a new observational study (Platz et al) from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Chronic inflammation and cancer risk may also be greater for men who have a Gleason score between 7 and 10. Researchers examined tissue samples to determine the prevalence and extent of immune cells that indicate inflammation from 191 men with prostate cancer and 209 men without cancer. They found that 86.2 percent of the men with prostate cancer had at least one tissue sample with signs of inflammation, compared to 78.2 percent of men who did not have cancer. But the researchers cautioned that inflammation is too widespread to be used as a diagnostic marker for prostate cancer. More studies are needed to determine if inflammation could be a cause of prostate cancer. April 30, 2014.

Type O Blood and Prostate Cancer

Men with type O blood seem to have a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer following radical prostatectomy, according to results from a new Tokyo Medical University study (Ohno et al) of 555 men, which were presented at the European Association of Urology congress in Stockholm. Specifically, men who had type O blood were 35% less likely to have a recurrence of prostate cancer than men with type A blood. Men were followed for an average of 52 months following their surgeries. April 29, 2014.

Prostate Cancer and (Ouch) Circumcision

Men circumcised after age 35 had 45% less risk of later developing prostate cancer than uncircumcised men, according to researchers (Spence at al) at the University of Montreal and the INRS-Armand-Frappier. Researchers interviewed 2114 Canadian men, half of whom had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2005 and 2009. April 29, 2014.

Study: Hormone Therapy for Early Prostate Cancer

Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center (Potosky et al) have reported that men with early stage prostate cancer who had hormone therapy as primary treatment instead of surgery or radiation did not live longer than men who had no treatment at all. Researchers reviewed the medical records of 15,000 men, but did not compare primary hormone treatment directly to surgery or radiation. April 20, 2014.

More Evidence for Hormone Treatment Plus Radiation

We know that men who have a localized recurrence of prostate cancer benefit from six months of hormone therapy prior to radiation therapy. Now men who combine six months of hormone therapy with radiation therapy may benefit if they have prostate cancer that is “small” and confined to the prostate gland, but is at risk of growing and spreading, according to new research (Bolla et al) that was presented at the 33rd conference of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology in Vienna on April 6. The clinical trial followed 819 men with early stage prostate cancer tumors. Men who had combination therapy had nearly half of the risk (47%) of biochemical progression of their prostate cancer compared to men who just had radiation therapy. April 19, 2014.

Radical Prostatectomy for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer?

Radical prostatectomy is generally not a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has grown beyond the gland. Now new research from Stockholm (Wiklund et al) that was presented at the European Association of Urology Meeting may totally shake things up. According to a news report by Medical News Today , researchers analyzed records of two groups of 699 men. One group had hormone therapy alone while the other group had radical prostatectomy followed by hormone therapy. There were two and a half times more deaths in the group that had hormone therapy alone (231 vs 93) after a follow-up of 14 years. April 17, 2014.

Study: Prognostic Value of Circulating Tumor Cells

Circulating prostate cancer tumor cells can be used as a prognostic marker for overall survival, according to a study (Goldkorn et al) of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer who were taking the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. The study appeared in the March 10 edition of the Journal of Oncology Some media outlets are reporting that this may be a better alternative to PSA testing to predict a man’s survival. But an editorial by Friedlander and Fong, which appeared in the same issue, calls for more validation in large clinical trials. March 26, 2014.

Study: PSA Testing Saves Lives

To test or not to test has been a controversial question over the last several years. Now researchers from Umea University in Sweden, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York (Stattin et al), have released a new study that points to a 20 percent lower rate of death caused by prostate cancer in counties in Sweden that have the highest incidence of the disease, but also have an early and rapid uptake of PSA testing. March 13, 2014.

Study: BPA and Prostate Cancer

Levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in men’s urine could be a marker of prostate cancer, according to new findings from Cincinnati Cancer Center researchers (Ho et al). BPA is an environmental pollutant with estrogen activity. Low levels of BPA exposure were associated with cellular changes in both non-malignant and malignant prostate cells. Researchers looked at PSA levels of 60 men and found higher levels of BPA in men with prostate cancer than in men who did not have prostate cancer (5.74 ìg/g creatine versus 1.43 ìg/g creatine). The difference was even more significant in men who were younger than 65. March 13, 2014.

New Joint Guideline on Radiation Therapy After Prostate Cancer Surgery

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American Urological Association (AUA) have published a joint guideline on radiation therapy following prostate cancer surgery for men who have or do not have any evidence of prostate cancer recurrence. The Adjuvant and Salvage Radiotherapy After Prostatectomy: ASTRO/AUA Guideline is an 81-page document that is based on a comprehensive review of 324 research articles. February 11, 2014.

New Guidelines for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) have issued new guidelines for castration-resistant prostate cancer (cancer that does not respond to hormone therapy) to include “more recent findings as well as an expanded evaluation of the strength of published evidence, clinical benefits, and risk of harms.” It includes recommendations on treatments including abiraterone acetate, cabazitaxel, docetaxel, enzalutamide, mitoxantrone, radium-223, and sipuleucel-T. It also provides recommendations on older treatments like corticosteroids and ketoconazole and when to start palliative care services. February 11, 2014.

Study: Educate Men About Hormone Therapy

Men with prostate cancer who undergo hormone therapy (also known as androgen deprivation therapy) should receive counseling from their physicians about quality of life changes that can result from treatment, according to a new study (Cary et al) that was published in The Journal of Urology online. Researchers found that hormone therapy was associated with changes in mental and emotional wellbeing, but after two years, the declines were not “clinically meaningful.” They conclude that men “must be counseled on possible quality of life changes related to androgen deprivation therapy as well as interventions to attenuate these effects before receiving treatment for prostate cancer.” January 28, 2014.

Study: Melatonin May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer

In other American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)-Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research news, higher levels of melatonin were associated with a decreased risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.  Melatonin is a hormone that is produced only at night in the dark and affects the body’s circadian rhythm, which also regulates our sleep-wake cycle.  Higher levels of melatonin were associated with a 75 percent lower risk of men developing advanced prostate cancer compared to men with lower melatonin levels. More studies are needed to confirm melatonin’s role in reducing risk of prostate cancer. January 23, 2014.

Study: How Exercise Affects Men with Prostate Cancer

Researchers have found that men who walked at a fast pace (3.3 to 4.5 miles per hours) prior to being diagnosed with prostate cancer had more blood vessels in their tumors that were regularly shaped than men with prostate cancer who walked slowly (1.5 to 2.5 miles per hour), which may explain why exercise has been linked to better outcomes. Men who have more physical activity have already been reported to have a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence and death than men who do little or no physical activities. These results were recently shared at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)-Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research. January 23, 2014.

New Initiative for Men with Bone Metastases

Amgen has teamed up with several advocacy groups, including Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network, to offer resources to help men and their caregivers understand how prostate cancer can spread to the bone. They have launched a new educational website that features tips and tools and video diaries of patients. January 22, 2014.

Study: Benefit When Hormone Therapy is Combined With Chemotherapy

Receiving the chemotherapy drug docetaxel at the beginning of standard hormone therapy (androgen deprivation therapy) helped men with hormone-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer live longer than men who received hormone therapy alone, according to results from a National Institutes of Health-supported randomized controlled clinical trial of 790 men with metastatic prostate cancer. Men were treated with hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy plus chemotherapy every three weeks for 18 weeks. The three-year overall survival rates were 69 percent for men who received combination therapy compared to 52.5 percent for men who only received hormone therapy. January 10, 2014.

Study: Anesthesia And Pain Meds May Affect Prostate Cancer Outcomes

Opioids that are commonly used to control pain following prostate cancer surgery may affect long-term outcomes, according to a study led by the Mayo Clinic. Researchers believe these painkillers may suppress the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells. They found a significant association between an opioid-sparing technique and reduced prostate cancer tumor progression and overall mortality (death). The researchers suggest that general anesthesia along with a spinal or epidural painkiller prior to surgery reduces a man’s need for opioids following surgery, which was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence. January 9, 2014.

Study: New Biomarker Predicts Prostate Cancer Progression

A biomarker for a cellular switch that can accurately predict which men with prostate cancer are likely to have their cancer return or spread has been identified by Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Alberta in Canada. The study (Zijlstra et al) was posted online in Cancer Research. Researchers studied a protein called CD151 that helps cancer cells spread. Using prostate cancer cell lines, they found that CD151 is free from integrin, which is its normal adhesion partner. This allows cells to stick to surrounding tissue (called CD151free). In men who tested positive for CD151free, their cancer recurred and spread an average of 10 years earlier than men with no detectable CD151free. The hope is that this biomarker can help determine whether men should be treated aggressively or whether their prostate cancer can be followed through active surveillance (also called watching and waiting). January 9, 2014

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