Update on Prostate Cancer Chemoprevention

Jennifer Fisher Lowe, PharmD; Lawrence A. Frazee, PharmD


Pharmacotherapy. 2006;26(3):353-359. 

In This Article


Prostate cancer detection, treatment, morbidity, and mortality continue to be issues of concern in men's health. The PCPT was the first prospective chemoprevention trial of finasteride to demonstrate a reduction in the primary outcome of prostate cancer, albeit at an increased risk of developing high-grade tumors.

Increased intake of foods high in vitamin E, lycopene, or selenium have also been associated with decreased prostate cancer risk in epidemiologic and retrospective studies. Data from nested case-control studies indicate that a beneficial effect from β-carotene and selenium may be restricted to men with low baseline plasma levels. Although some of the data seem promising, at this point it is premature to recommend nutritional intervention as a way to prevent prostate cancer. In addition, whether this would translate to a positive effect with use of a dietary supplement remains to be deter-mined. The long lead time and slow-growing nature of prostate cancer make the design and completion of good randomized, controlled trials difficult.

Future prospective, randomized, controlled trials such as REDUCE, assessing the role of the dual 5-α-reductase inhibitor dutasteride, and SELECT, assessing the effect of selenium and vitamin E, should provide additional insight into this important subject.


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