Prostate cancer news reports: Sunday, December 6, 2009

In today’s news reports we comment on:

  • The possible link between obesity and prostate cancer risk
  • The economic impact of widespread prostate cancer screening in Europe
  • The potential roles of tumor volume and PSMs in projecting need for adjuvant radiotherapy post-surgery
  • Biochemical progression after treatment with degarelix (at up to 1 year)

A 25-year-long prospective study has shown that relatively higher prediagnostic serum levels of a naturally occurring chemical called adiponectin in man seems to predispose men to a lower risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer and a lower risk of subsequently dying from the cancer. The authors conclude that this may suggest “a mechanistic link between obesity and poor prostate cancer outcome.”

Heijnsdijk et al. have suggested that widespread introduction of PSA screening in Europe will increase total healthcare costs for prostate cancer substantially, of which the actual screening costs will be a small part. Based on their model, and making assumptions about rates of “over-detection” and “over-treatment” for prostate cancer, they suggest that twice as many patients would be diagnosed with widespread screening as opposed to without screening but that costs would also increase by 100 percent.

Resnick et al. reviewed data from a series of 2,410 patients who received a radical prostatectomy (RP) at their institution, and identified 423 patients with positive surgical margins (PSMs) who had a PSA nadir at undetectable levels. They showed that higher estimated tumor volume was directly associated with increasing risk of biochemical failure in patients with PSMs. Patients with > 1 PSM were at greater risk of biochemical failure than those with only 1 PSM. They conclude that estimated tumor volume and number of PSMs might help to further identify those patients most likely to benefit from immediate adjuvant radiotherapy after RP.

According to a media release from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Shore and Crawford presented data on biochemical recurrence rates from the pivotal Phase III trial of monthly degarelix compared to monthly leuprolide acetate in prostate cancer patients during their first year of treatment. According to their analysis, patients receiving the approved dose of degarelix had a recurrence rate of 7.7 percent compared with 12.9 percent for patients treated with leuprolide. In addition, patients being treated with degarelix had a longer time to recurrence compared with those on leuprolide.

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