Not much to look out for at AACR and ASCO!


The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research starts tomorrow in Denver, Colorado. Based on the “recommended” abstracts to watch out for on prostate cancer at this meeting, there is only a very small number of presentations that appear to offer significant and important new information about the potential for new drugs for the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer, as follows:

Murtola et al. have evaluated prostate cancer incidence by stage and grade as well as serum PSA values among men who used finasteride or alpha-blockers as treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) among participants in men randomized to the screening arm of the Finnish Prostate Cancer Screening Trial. According to their data, 1,754 men (7.5 percent of the study population) had used finasteride and 3,848 (16.5 percent) had used alpha-blockers (either tamsulosin or alfuzosin). Compared to non-users of such medications, overall prostate cancer incidence was significantly decreased in finasteride users (hazard ratio 0.55). This was mainly driven by a dose- and time-dependent decrease in the incidence of Gleason 2-6, T1 and T2 tumors. The protective effect was observed at all PSA levels. Incidence of advanced stage or high-grade tumors was not affected, though low number of cases impeded these analyses. They also not that prostate cancer risk was not significantly reduced among alpha-blocker users relative to non-users.The authors conclude that the incidence of low-grade, early-stage tumors is decreased among men who use finasteride for symptomatic BPH and are systematically screened for prostate cancer. This suggests that the protective effect of finasteride can be expected also in men with average risk of prostate cancer.

Cheng et al. have carried out a detailed analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that appeared to suggest increased risk for prostate cancer. By focusing on the SNPs from patients with more aggressive disease (Gleason score ≥ 7; PSA > 10 ng/ml; and clinical stage³ T2c) they were able to gain evidence that variation in the KIAA1217 gene may be associated with particular risk for  aggressive prostate cancer.

In the case of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Orlando on May 29 through June 2, however, it looks as though the situation is even less promising! ASCO just released its media briefing schedule for the meeting. The media release doesn’t mention a media briefing about any study offering any information about anything to do with prostate cancer! For those intersted in searching the ASCO abstracts, the vast majority will be posted publicly on www.abstract.asco.org May 14, at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

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