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Men with an increased risk of prostate cancer can have their chances of developing the disease cut by being given a drug already on the market, research suggests.
Dutasteride, sold as Avodart, is currently sold as a treatment for other prostate problems. But a large international study from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine found the drug lowered the chances of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 23% after four years of use.
The research was sponsored by Avodart’s maker, British-based GlaxoSmithKline, at an American Urological Association conference in Chicago.
Lead researcher Dr Gerald Andriole said: “There’s no question that many had small tumours that were not detected, yet the drug still lowered the risk of cancer being found years later.”
Dutasteride, along with alternative prostate drug finasteride, work by shrinking the prostate and curbing the production of testosterone – the hormone that helps the cancer grow.
Though dutasteride does this more completely than finasteride, an earlier study found that finasteride lowered the risk of prostate cancer being found in men with no known increased risk of the disease.
Copyright Press Association 2009