The Tuesday news update: March 3, 2009

Today’s news covers:

  • The ongoing trial of toremifene 20 mg in prevention of prostate cancer
  • Interleukin-6 in the development of prostate cancer
  • Preservation of the fascia and recovery of erectile function post-surgery
  • The use of urethral wall stents and delayed artificial urinary sphincters to treat men with severe, recurrent bladder neck contracture and incontinence after radical prostatectomy

GTx announced in a media release yesterday that, following a planned safety review, the Data Safety Monitoring Board has recommended continuation of the company’s pivotal Phase III clinical trial of toremifene 20 mg for the prevention of prostate cancer in men with high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Nearly 1,600 patients with high grade PIN have been enrolled in this trial. The primary endpoint of the trial is a reduction in prostate cancer incidence. GTx anticipates an efficacy analysis of toremifene 20 mg for this potential indication in the summer of 2009.

A study by Stark et al. has suggested the possibility that interleukin-6 “may potentially be involved in the development or progression of prostate cancer.”

Another study has investigated the importance of more extensive preservation of the fascia as a method to improve postoperative erectile function in patients undergoing radical prostatectomy. (The prostatic fascia is the sheet of fibrous connective tissue that wraps around the prostate and effectively defines the “capsule” of the organ.) van der Pohl and Blok have shown that a new scoring system for the extent of circumferential fascial preservation (FP) during prostatectomy is a stronger predictor of postoperative erectile function recovery than is laterality (bilateral or unilateral) or fascial depth (interfascial or intrafascial). They also state that more ventral FP (i.e., better preservation of the fascia nearer to the front of the patient) significantly contributed to postoperative recovery of erectile function.

Magera et al. have reported data on the placement of urethral wall stents and delayed artificial urinary sphincters in 25 patients for treatment of severe, recurrent bladder neck contracture and incontinence after radical prostatectomy between 2001 and 2007. They report that this technique “is associated with improvement in quality of life.” However, they also note that additional long-term follow-up is required to better delineate the efficacy of this treatment approach.

One Response

  1. Seems a little incredible to me that the urology profession, which claims to understand the nerve network that serves the prostate and that is necessary for potency, is just now discovering that all that prostatic facia that they have been cutting out, heretofore, might actually be important to leave in place. Makes sense though when you consider this is the same profession that only began using an anesthetic to complete a biopsy within the last 10 years.

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