The weekend news reports: February 21, 2009


There are six reports in the news for the weekend, addressing such topics as:

  • DRE for prostate cancer at the time of colonoscopy
  • Development of a 3D transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy system
  • False-positive biochemical failures after external beam radiotherapy
  • Activity of inactivated Sendai virus particles on HRPC in vitro
  • Male pattern baldness, serum androgen levels, and prostate disorders
  • Psychosocial effects and implications of gynecomastia

Hammett et al. have proposed that colonoscopy presents an ideal opportunity for physicians to use a digital rectal examination (DRE) to also assess the patient for prostate cancer. They recommend that physicians performing colonoscopies in men of 50 to 70 years of age should pay special attention to the prostate while performing a DRE prior to colonoscopy. They suggest that such examinations may help maximize resources for cancer screening and could potentially increase the detection rate of clinically palpable prostate cancer. The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink suspects that (at least in the USA) most men who are having colonoscopies are already highly likely to have had PSA tests and DREs, and doubts that DRE at the time of cystoscopy would actually offer any significant benefit. The situation may (apparently) be different in some other countries (e.g., Australia) where GPs are less aggressive about given PSA tests and physical examinations.

Bax et al. have described the early phases of development of a three-dimensional transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy system that should offer greater accuracy in placement of prostate biopsy needles.

Denham et al. have studied PSA changes after radiation therapy with or without neoadjuvant androgen deprivation to determine post-treatment PSA scenarios in which false-positive biochemical failures (FPBF) are most likely to occur. They note that the Phoenix definition of post-radiation biochemical failure avoided 50 percent of FPBF calls that occurred with the ASTRO definition. They propose that biochemical failures should be confirmed by further PSA rises before investigation and further treatment is considered.

Kawaguchi et al. have reported that inactivated Sendai virus particles appear to have the ability to eradicate hormone-resistant prostate cancer cells under laboratory conditions — by inducing apoptosis in tumor cells, as well as activating anti-tumor immunity. Whether such activity can be replicated in an animal model, let alone in man, is open to some question.

Faydaci et al. were unable to identify any difference of male pattern baldness in benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer patients, nor could they demonstrate any correlation between pattern of baldness and serum androgen levels.

Wassersug and Oliffe have investigated the social context for gynecomastia and how it is interpreted by men with the condition, as well as by others. They have also used their understanding of why gynecomastia is psychologically distressing to propose psychosocial interventions that could help men to accept this side effect of certain types of androgen deprivation therapy

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