Thursday’s news reports: January 29, 2009

There are six news reports today, most of which can be dealt with quickly and briefly. They run the gamut from antibiotic prophylaxis prior to prostate biopsy to the effects of androgen deprivation therapy on cognition.

Biffraux et al. have conducted a randomized, multi-center trial comparing a short course of antibiotic treatment (a single pre-biopsy dose) to a longer course (3 days of treatment) in order to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) associated with prostate biopsies. Their study showed no significant difference in risk for UTIs between the two antibiotic prophylaxis regimens. They therefore propose that the single pre-biopsy dose should be the preferred option.

Sunami et al. hypothesized that circulating multimarker DNA assays detecting both genetic and epigenetic markers in serum might have value in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with prostate cancer. They report data from an initial pilot study suggesting that the combined circulating DNA multimarker assay not only identifies patients with prostate cancer but may also yield information independent of clinical stage or PSA concentration.

Cortesi et al. have attempted to evaluate potential clinically relevant information that can be extracted from the analysis of prostatic zinc concentration images. They predict the potential for being able to use such images to detect small prostate-cancer lesions, of grade 4 + 3 = 7 and above, with very good specificity and sensitivity. They also  provide data on the pixel size and image counting statistics needed from the trans-rectal probe that would be used to record in vivo prostatic zinc concentration maps in patients.

Information about the potential of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of localized prostate cancer is “heating up rapidly.” A review on the current status of the development of this form of therapy has just been published by Moore et al. in Nature Clinical Practice: Urology.

Rosenblatt and Burnstein have reported data supporting earlier suggestions that arsenic-based compounds such as arsenic trioxide (Trisenox/Cephalon) may have potential in the treatment of progressive prostate cancer because arsenic inhibits androgen receptor transcriptional activity in prostate cancer and Sertoli cells.

In what appears to be a severely under-powered study by Nedelec et al., the authors tried to evaluate secondary effects on cognitive functions such as memory and attention impairments in just 14 men treated by androgen suppression for cancer of prostate. Not surprisingly, in such a small study, with follow-up for only 12 months, global cognitive performances were preserved and the authors were unable to observe any impairment incognitive function. The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink considers that significant impairment of cognitive function is well established in some men treated with long-term androgen suppression. A sound analysis of this topic probably requires a minimum of 100 patients treated for an average of at least 3 years.

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