The Thursday news reports: March 12, 2009


We have dealt separately with a study on predictors of response to sildenafil (Viagra) following radiation therapy. Other major news reported today deals with:

  • Incidence, morbidity, and mortality of prostate cancer among men of West African ancestry
  • Risks associated with using folate supplements
  • Combination of ADT with EBRT in treatment of intermediate risk prostate cancer

Odedina et al. have reviewed available data on the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates of  prostate cancer among African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, and men in West African nations historically associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They note the very high incidence of prostate cancer among all these groups, which appears to reflect an ancestral genetic predisposition for prostate cancer. They also note that the morbidity and mortality of prostate cancer among African Americans has been falling since 1991; however, the rate of that fall is less that among Caucasian Americans.

A study by Figueiredo et al. has demonstrated that men who took folic acid supplements had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer compared with those who didn’t take the supplements. However, the incidence of prostate cancer was slightly lower in men who simply got adequate amounts of folate in their diet. The study followed 643 men for slightly more than a decade. The estimated prostate cancer risk was 9.7 percent for the men who took the daily 1-mg folate supplements, and 3.3 percent for men who took a placebo. Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, a basic nutrient found in green, leafy vegetables. (Click here for additional discussion of this study.)

Dasgupta and Kirby have reviewed outcomes data on the use of robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) from the viewpoint of the potential expansion of use of this technique in the UK.

Based on data from 238 men with intermediate risk prostate cancer treated with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) between 1989 and 2006, Liauw et al. have reported that it may be possible to use the percentage of positive biopsy cores as an indicator for those patients most likely to benefit from the additional of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to  dose-escalated EBRT. According to their data, intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients with with a percentage of positive cores ≥ 50 percent had the highest risk for biochemical failure and were most likely to derive a benefit from ADT.

Tambo et al. have reported data suggesting that pretreatment serum HER2/neu expression may represent a more valuable tool than immunohistochemical HER2/neu expression for the prediction of biochemical recurrence in metastatic prostate cancer patients.

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