(CBS) – A drug that is commonly used to treat men with enlarged prostates may also delay the growth of prostate cancer, according to a new study.
The drug, dutasteride, works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, the male sex hormone implicated in the development of prostate cancer.
For the study – published in the January 24 online edition of The Lancet – 302 men ages 48 to 82 with low-risk localized prostate cancer were assigned either once daily dutasteride or a placebo for three years. Patients were given biopsies at 18 months and three years, and given a questionnaire about cancer-related anxiety.
The results showed that treatment with dutasteride significantly delayed prostate cancer progression – 38 percent versus 48 percent progression in those given the placebo.