Prostate cancer news reports: Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Apparently Ferring Pharmaceuticals has finally been able to get Firmagon® approved as the new trade (brand) name for degarelix (their new LHRH antagonist) here in the USA. This is the same brand name as is used in Europe. Who knows why it took so long! The media release doesn’t say.

In other news reports today we comment on studies dealing with:

  • Vitamin B-6 and prostate cancer-specific survival
  • Tallness and prostate cancer risk
  • Quality of care indicators for prostate cancer studies

Based on Swedish data that allow for 20-year follow-up of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1985 and 1994, Kasperzyk et al. report that there appears to be an association between intake of vitamin B-6 and prostate cancer-specific survival among men diagnosed with localized (but not advanced) prostate cancer. Intake of certain other common nutrients (folate, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, and methionine) was not associated with prostate cancer-specific survival. The authors conclude that, “A high vitamin B-6 intake may improve prostate cancer survival among men with a diagnosis of localized-stage disease.” The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink would comment that this type of retrospective database analysis, while demonstrating an association between action X and outcome Y, may well be useful in suggesting hypotheses that are worth testing, but should be considered with great caution in making any treatment decisions.

According to an analysis of data from the PLCO study published by Ahn et al.,  when all patients in the study are considered, tallness was not associated with the risk of prostate cancer or with the risk of non-aggressive disease. However, the risk for aggressive prostate cancer (Gleason score ≥ 7 or clinical stage III or IV) tended to be greater in taller men. This association seems to be limited to men of < 65 years of age,  although the number of cases was small and risk estimates were somewhat unstable.

Miller and Saigal report that researchers are getting closer to the establishment of concensus guidelines on the measurement of quality of care indicators for the treatment of men with prostate cancer. This is important for evalaution of the quality of specific clinical trials, so that it is possible to judge the quality of trials against concensus guidelines in assessing the quality of the care provided. However, full concensus has not been achieved yet.

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