An emerging treatment option for men with recurring prostate cancer after radiation therapy

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Prostate cancer is often a multifocal disease, meaning that several tumors can be present in different parts of gland at the same time. Not all of these tumors are equally problematic, however. And it’s increasingly thought that the tumor with the most aggressive features — called the index lesion — dictates how a man’s cancer […]

Improving PET scans are good news for doctors and patients alike

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A recent blog post discussed a newly approved imaging agent with an unwieldy name: gallium-68 PMA-11. Delivered in small amounts by injection, this minimally radioactive tracer sticks to prostate cancer cells, which subsequently glow and reveal themselves on a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Offered to men with rising PSA levels after initial prostate cancer […]

Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Falls rank among the top causes of death and injuries among the elderly, and the risk increases significantly in older people being treated for cancer. Now, investigators are reporting that a newer class of drugs for advanced prostate cancer is associated with a significant increase in fall risk. Called androgen receptor inhibitors, or ARIs, these […]

New high-resolution imaging scans approved for use in prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Imagine trying to find a single match from a book of matches in a large room. Not an easy task, right? But if the lights were dimmed and the match was lit, then its location would be immediately apparent. This is the basic idea behind PSMA imaging, a newly approved method for detecting prostate cancer […]

The sequence of hormonal therapy and radiation affects outcomes in men treated for prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A common treatment for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer is to combine radiation with drugs that block testosterone — a hormone that makes the tumors grow faster. (This type of treatment is also called androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT). New research is suggesting the sequence of these treatments may be crucially important. Dr. Dan Spratt, […]

New online model identifies which men can have fewer biopsies on active surveillance

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

During the last decade, more men with favorable-risk prostate cancer that is unlikely to cause symptoms and spread have opted for a monitoring approach called active surveillance (AS) instead of immediate treatment. AS entails routine PSA checks and prostate tumor biopsies, and the cancer is treated only if it progresses. The approach has some drawbacks, […]

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer may prevent or limit COVID-19 symptoms

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men have roughly twice the risk of developing severe disease and dying from COVID-19 than women. Scientists say this is in part because women mount stronger immune reactions to the disease’s microbial cause: the infamous coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Now research with prostate cancer patients points to another possible explanation, which is that the male sex […]

Hormonal treatments for prostate cancer are often given late

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men with advanced prostate cancer are typically treated with drugs that cause testosterone levels to plummet. Testosterone is a hormone that fuels growing prostate tumors, so ideally this type of treatment, which is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), or hormonal therapy, will stall the disease in its tracks. For that to happen, ADT has to […]

A new hormonal therapy for prostate cancer is under expedited FDA review

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

In June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an accelerated review of a promising new drug for advanced prostate cancer. Called relugolix, it suppresses testosterone and other hormones that speed the cancer’s growth. If approved, this new type of hormonal therapy is expected to set a new standard of care for the disease. […]

New drugs approved for advanced BRCA-positive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Defective BRCA genes are well known for their ability to cause breast and ovarian cancers in women. But these same gene defects are also strong risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer in men. About 10% of men with metastatic prostate cancer — meaning cancer that is spreading away from the prostate — test positive for […]