Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN)

Editor in Chief Marc B. Garnick, M.D., discusses what this "precancerous" condition entails and what your medical options are

In any given year, as many as 16% of men who undergo prostate biopsies will learn they have PIN, short for prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. The simplest way to describe PIN is as a precancerous condition "" but as is often the case in prostate disease, the situation is actually much more complex. First, only one type of PIN increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. And recent research indicates that the additional risk may not be as significant as originally thought.

Even so, a diagnosis of PIN presents men with a conundrum about what to do next. No consensus exists about what type of medical follow-up is in order or whether "" and when "" to treat PIN in the hopes of preventing prostate cancer. Moreover, the debate is about to become much more heated, because a drug to treat PIN is now undergoing phase III clinical trials, the last stage before submission to the FDA for approval. If the new drug is approved as a treatment for PIN, it's likely that it will be heavily promoted "" adding a great deal of background noise to the debate about PIN.

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