Prostate Cancer Blog for
Wives and Partners
2011 Archive

This is the prostate cancer blog archive page for news stories from 2011.  Visit the current blog.

Hormone Therapy Risks Up For Debate Again

Over the last few years, several studies have suggested that hormone therapy (androgen deprivation therapy) for prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of death due to cardiovascular problems. A meta analysis published in the December issue of JAMA, however, states that hormone therapy was not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death. Nguyen et al, reviewed the records of 4,141 men from 8 randomized trials (you can read the abstract here). Another study published in Cancer in early December links the development of blood clots in men over age 65 who receive hormone therapy. In this study, Edhaie et al, reviewed the records of 154,000 men with localized prostate cancer. They reported a 56 percent increased risk of blood clots in men being treated with hormone therapy versus those men who did not receive hormone therapy. December 22, 2011.

BBQ Beef Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Higher intake of well-done grilled or barbequed red meat and ensuing carcinogens could increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to a study by Punnen et al, published in PloSONE. Eating more ground beef or processed meats were positively associated with aggressive prostate cancer, with ground beef showing the strongest association. Grilled or barbequed meat, especially more well-done meat, were also associated with a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. You can read the study at December 4, 2011.

Study: Hormone Therapy Linked to Increased Blood Clots

A study by Ehdaie et al suggests that hormone therapy for prostate cancer may raise the risk of potentially dangerous blood clots, according to a Reuters Health report. Researchers reviewed data from more than 154,000 men with prostate cancer who were age 65 or older. The men who received hormone therapy had double the rate of blood clots in the veins, arteries, or lungs than the men who did not receive hormone therapy. Fifteen percent of the 58,000-plus men who received hormone therapy developed a blood clot within about 4 years compared to seven percent of men who did not receive hormone therapy. December 4, 2011.

Study: Radiation Plus Hormone Therapy Improves Survival

Men who added radiation therapy to hormone therapy lived significantly longer than men who had hormone therapy alone, according to results from a study of 1,205 men with locally advanced prostate cancer (cancer that extended outside the surface of the prostate gland, but had not spread further). Medical News Today reports that 74% of men were still alive at the seven- year point in the combined radiotherapy plus hormone therapy group, compared with 66% in the hormone-only group. You can read the full article at November 8, 2011.

Calcium and Prostate Cancer Risk in African American Men

A study by epidemiologists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and colleagues suggests that a high intake of calcium causes prostate cancer among African-American men who are genetically good absorbers of the mineral. Researchers examined VDR Cdx2 genotype and calcium intake (assessed by a food frequency questionnaire) in 533 African American men who had prostate cancer (256 men had advanced stage at diagnosis while 277 had localized prostate cancer) and 250 African American men who did not have prostate cancer. September 20, 2011.

US Government Says Men Should Not Be Tested for Prostate Cancer

The prostate cancer community is up in arms today over a draft recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force (which was organized by the Department of Health and Human Services) that men should not be routinely tested for prostate cancer. Zero sent a notice stating that the decision “contradicts prostate cancer testing recommendations from medical and professional organizations, including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Urological Association.” The Washington Post reported that the 16-member panel was chaired by a professor of pediatrics. According to Zero, there was not a urologist or a medical oncologist on the panel. October 7, 2011.

Emerging Concepts in Erectile Preservation

The September/October issue of The International Journal of Impotence Research features an article by Moskovic et al that reviews most the recent data in support of therapies for erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. We’ve summarized many of the studies they reviewed on our page about penile rehabilitation, but you may be interested in reading this article, particularly if you are interested in reading about testosterone replacement. September 20, 2011.

Alpharadin Gets Fast Tracked

Alpharadin (radium-223 chloride), an investigational drug for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer in men whose cancer has spread to the bone (called bone metastasis), has been granted Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Bayer Health Care. The drug contains an alpha-particle emitting nuclide and mimics many of the behaviors of calcium in the bone. Alpharadin's Phase III ALSYMPCA trial met its primary endpoint by considerably improving overall survival of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and symptomatic bone metastases. Results were so impressive that an Independent Data Monitoring Committee recommended that the study be stopped and that the patients on placebo (typically a sugar pill with no medication) be offered Alpharadin therapy. In the US, Fast Track Designation is given to medications that treat serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. September 15, 2011.

Another Urine Test for Prostate Cancer?

Last year, we reported on preliminary laboratory research conducted by scientists (Whitaker et al) in the UK, which demonstrated that a protein in urine could be a reliable marker for prostate cancer. Now a study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology suggests that a new urine test (which is not yet available) may help aid early detection of prostate cancer in men who have an elevated PSA. Researchers looked for a gene fusion that is believed to cause prostate cancer (called TMPRSS2:ERG) and a marker (called PCA3), in the urine samples of 1,312 men who had elevated PSAs. August 11, 2011.

Study: Short-term Hormone Therapy Plus Radiation Therapy Increases Survival

The use of short-term hormone therapy for 4 months before and during radiotherapy in men with stage T1b, T1c, T2a, or T2b prostate cancer, and a PSA level of 20 ng per milliliter or less, was associated with significantly decreased disease-specific mortality and increased overall survival, according to a study by Jones, et al, which was published in the July 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Other studies have reported on the benefits of adding short-term hormone therapy to radiation therapy, but this is the largest randomized trial to date and studied 1,979 men at low and intermediate risk of prostate cancer progression for a period of more than more than nine years from October 1994 to April 2001 at 212 U.S. and Canadian centers. July 19, 2011.

Final Judgment about Java and Prostate Cancer Risk?

Back in 2009, we reported on a prospective investigation that suggested that there may be a relationship between regular coffee consumption and the risk of advanced prostate cancer. Now researchers who conducted a meta analysis of 12 epidemiological studies suggest that there is no evidence to support a harmful effect of coffee consumption on prostate cancer risk. July 19, 2011.

Survey: Life after Prostate Cancer Surgery

Reuters Health is reporting that of 152 men surveyed who had radical prostatectomy, almost half said that their life after surgery is worse than they expected, and that they had less sexual function and greater incontinence problems than they anticipated. The results of the survey have been published in an in-press article by Tracey L. Krupski in the Journal of Urology. Despite presurgery counseling, men surveyed may have had unrealistic expectations of regaining full sexual function in the first year after surgery. When questioned, about half of the men believed that they would have the same sexual function as before surgery, and seventeen percent of men believed that their sexual function would improve after prostate cancer surgery. It should be noted that the follow-up time of this survey was only one year after the men's surgeries. As we have previously reported, sexual recovery following radical prostatectomy may take longer than one year. July 5, 2011.

Lupron Now Available In Six-Month Injection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Abbott’s new 45 mg for six-month administration formulation of Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate for depot suspension). Lupron is a medication that works by suppressing the production of the hormone testosterone. It is used as a palliative treatment for men who have advanced prostate cancer. Prior to this, men could get injections every month, every three months, or every four months. June 23, 2011.

AUA Supports Prostate Cancer Legislation

The American Urological Association (AUA) has announced its support for the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2159), which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The goal of the PROSTATE Act is to foster a more integrated and coordinated focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. June 16, 2011.

Experimental Drug Shows Promise for Bone Metastases

According to a Reuters news report, interim results from a midstage clinical trial (presented yesterday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting), show that the experimental drug cabozantinib shrank bone malignancies caused by prostate cancer in 76 percent of men who took the drug, using bone scan evaluation. These results represent a subset (108 men) of the total number of men (171) who were enrolled in the trial (called a post hoc analysis). According to the study abstract (presented by Hussain, et al), cabozantinib showed clinical activity, and provided pain relief, in men with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (particularly those men whose prostate cancer spread to the bone), regardless of whether they had prior treatment with chemotherapy (docetaxel). Exelixis Inc. now intends to initiate a phase III study by the end of 2011 to evaluate the drug’s ability to reduce pain and clear bone lesions. June 7, 2011.

Java for Prostate Cancer?

Drinking six cups of coffee (regular or decaffeinated) a day appeared to help lower men’s risk of getting prostate cancer, according to a retrospective study of 47,911 by Wilson et al, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators also suggest that the risk of men getting metastatic prostate cancer is lower in men who consume six cups of coffee a day. Before you start brewing mass mugs of java, bear in mind that the results of this study were based on looking at records of these men, and only 5,035 of the total number of men actually had prostate cancer (plus only 642 men had fatal or metastatic cancer). There may have been many other factors that might have caused these outcomes. Read the study abstract. May 19, 2011.

Men’s Sexual Satisfaction Following Prostate Cancer Surgery

The April edition of the International Journal of Impotence Research includes results of a small study by Messaoudi et al that suggests that radical prostatectomy can adversely affect a man’s sexual desire, self-esteem, and masculinity, in addition to erectile and orgasmic functions. The study assessed the impact of prostate cancer surgery on men’s sexual health and satisfaction using a questionnaire that was given to two groups of men (63 total) who had radical prostatectomy (with high or lower levels of sexual motivation). The mean age of men was 63.9 years and 74.6% of men were being treated for erectile dysfunction. After prostate cancer surgery, men reported lower sexual desire (52.4%), reduced intercourse frequency (79.4%), anorgasmia, which is the inability to achieve orgasm (39.7%), less satisfying orgasm (38.1%), urination during orgasm, which is called climacturia (25.4%), greater distress (68.3%) and/or lower partner satisfaction (56.5%). Among the most sexually motivated men, 76.0% reported loss of masculine identity, 52% loss of self-esteem and 36.0% anxiety about performance. These rates were lower among less motivated patients (52.6, 28.9, and 18.4%, respectively). May 12, 2011.

Study: Tissue Spacer May Prevent Rectal Burning from Radiation

Injecting a tissue spacer compound in the prostate-rectal inter-space "essentially eliminated" severe rectal radiation burns in a small study of 34 men with prostate cancer, as reported by Medical News Today. The study findings were presented April 30, 2011, at the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium in Atlanta, which is sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Injecting the spacer created, on average, an additional 1 cm separation between the prostate and rectum. This was reported to result in a significant reduction in the rectal dose of radiation that was administered, causing very little damage to the rectum. May 2, 2011.

Study: Salvage Radical Prostatectomy after Radiation Therapy

Freedom from clinical metastasis was observed in greater than 75 percent of men with radiation-recurrent prostate cancer 10 years after they had open salvage surgery, according to data from a retrospective analysis of 404 men, which was published by Chade et al in the March 17 online edition of European Urology. The median age of men was 65 at the time of salvage radical prostatectomy (SRP) and the median pre-SRP PSA was 4.5 ng/ml. Following SRP, 195 men experienced biochemical recurrence, 64 men developed metastases, and 40 men died from prostate cancer. At the 10-year point after SRP, the probability of biochemical-free survival was 37 percent; the probability of metastasis-free survival was 77 percent; and the probability of cancer-specific survival was 83 percent. Unfortunately, this study did not include any information about side effects of SRP, which can be considerable and should always be considered. April 14, 2011.

Medicare to Pay for Provenge

It looks like Medicare will pay the $93,000 it costs for the drug Provenge, according to an Associated Press report. Provenge is a unique therapy for men with metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (cancer that has spread and does not respond to hormone therapy) that uses the body’s own immune system to fight prostate cancer. The active components of Provenge are a man’s own immune cells mixed with a protein that is designed to produce an immune response to prostate cancer. When the immune cells of a man with prostate cancer are mixed with the protein, the cells are activated. These activated cells are then infused into a man’s body. A clinical study showed that Provenge gave men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer an extra four months to live. Millions of men will now be able to afford Provenge through the government-backed health care coverage. Medicare’s decision should be finalized by June 30. March 31, 2011.

Study: Six Months of Hormone Therapy Plus Radiation Doubled Survival Rate

Men who had locally advanced prostate cancer and received 6 months of hormone therapy along with radiation treatment halved their risk of dying from prostate cancer compared to men who received radiation therapy alone, according to results of a 10-year clinical trial (Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group or TROG), which was published March 25 in the online edition of The Lancet Oncology. The TROG 96.01 trial assessed the effects of 3-month and 6-month short-term hormone therapy (neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy) in 818 men with locally advanced prostate cancer. March 27, 2011.

Modest Decline in PSA Screenings Reported

The number of PSA screenings conducted by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration Pacific Northwest Network has slightly declined, according to a Medical News Today report. The decline was 3 percentage points among men aged 40-54; 2.7 percentage points among men aged 55-74; and 2.2 percentage points among men aged 75 years and older. This modest decline has been attributed to new guidelines for screening, which followed the publication of two large clinical trials in 2009. March 3, 2011.

And a Man’s ED Drug of Choice is…

After analyzing muliptle preference studies, Morales et al have determined that men prefer tadalafil (brand name Cialis) over vardenafil (Levitra) and sildenafil (Viagra), according to their article in the December online edition of International Journal of Impotence Research. A PubMed search was conducted for manuscripts published within the last 10 years containing the search items ED, preference, sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil. Selected articles were from peer reviewed publications on patients’ preference and ED published in medical literature since 2000. According to the authors, 52 to 65% of men prefer tadalafil compared with 12 to 20% of men who prefer vardenafil and 8 to 30% of men who prefer sildenafil. The authors state that preference for tadalafil was mainly due to “the longer duration of action that increases patients’ freedom in sexual life.” This isn’t exact science, of course. But we can tell you from personal experience that if you are not happy with the results of one ED medication, ask your doctor to try another. February 17, 2011.

Study: No Link Between Prostate Cancer and Vitamin D

Having a higher or lower level of vitamin D does not make men more or less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to new research published in Cancer Causes and Control, as reported by Medical News Today. Other studies have suggested that Vitamin D can play a role in helping prostate cancer. The findings of this new research, however, support a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which also found there is no evidence that lower levels of vitamin D increase the risk of prostate cancer. More studies are needed to better determine the role Vitamin D plays (or does not play) in prostate cancer. February 15, 2011.

Stress Less Before Prostate Cancer Surgery

According to Medical News Today, a new study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that if a man practices stress management techniques before his prostate cancer surgery, it may help activate his body’s immune response and result in a quicker recovery while aiding his emotional state of mind. These same researchers reported earlier that men who received this training had significantly less mood disturbance and improved quality of life one year after surgery. Stress management was defined as meeting with a psychologist one to two weeks prior to surgery to discuss concerns and learn cognitive techniques. Men also learned deep breathing, guided imagery exercises, mental imagery to prepare for surgery and hospitalization, received a stress management guide, audiotapes of techniques to practice on their own, and had brief booster sessions with the psychologist the morning of their surgery and 48 hours post surgery. The full study will be published in the February/March edition of Psychosomatic Medicine. February 3, 2011.

Men with Prostate Cancer Walk Away Risk of Dying

In a study of 2,705 men who survived nonmetastatic prostate cancer, those men who walked at a normal to brisk pace for at least 90 minutes a week had a 46% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer than men who walked at a more leisurely pace for shorter periods of time, according to a report from Medpage Today. Men who added 3 or more hours of vigorous exercise a week lowered their risk even further. Men were asked to complete a questionnaire that described their type, frequency, and duration of physical activity (which suggests limitations to this study). All of the men who participated in the study had a diagnosis of nonmetastatic prostate cancer and they were followed from 1990 to 2008. The study has been published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. January 13, 2011.

Age Should Not Be a Barrier to Treatment

Results of a University of California, San Francisco study suggest that older men (above age 75) with high-risk prostate cancer may experience earlier death because they are offered fewer and less-effective treatment choices than younger men. Instead of surgery and radiation therapies, these men are often given hormone therapy or are advised to do watchful waiting. The study authors state that old age should not be a barrier to treatments that could potentially cure men’s prostate cancer. The study, which was published in the December 6 online issue of the Journal of Oncology, was based on a database of more than 13,805 men with prostate cancer in the United States. January 4, 2011.

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