The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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1289
Finasteride for Prevention of Prostate Cancer
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Patients are asking physicians about an article on the front page of the June 15th New York Times, in which some prostate cancer experts were quoted as suggesting that men 55 and older might be well advised to take finasteride (Proscar, and others) to prevent prostate cancer.1

THE DRUG — Approved by the FDA in 1992 for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia,2 finasteride inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which is required for the development and enlargement of the prostate. Theoretically, elimination of dihydrotestosterone might prevent prostate cancer; men with congenital 5-alpha-reductase deficiency do not develop the disease.

THE PROSTATE CANCER PREVENTION TRIAL — The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) in 18,882 men who took finasteride 5 mg/day or placebo for ... more      

The Medical Letter is a subscriber-funded nonprofit organization that publishes critical appraisals of new prescription drugs and comparative reviews of drugs for common diseases.

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Title: Finasteride for Prevention of Prostate Cancer
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