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 […]

Combining different biopsies limits uncertainty in prostate cancer diagnosis

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Are prostate cancer biopsies reliably accurate? Not always. The most common method, called a systematic biopsy, sometimes misses tumors, and it can also misclassify cancer as being either more or less aggressive than it really is. During systematic biopsy, a doctor takes 12 evenly-spaced samples of the prostate, called cores, while looking at the gland […]

New radiation therapies keep advanced prostate cancer in check

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Treatments for prostate cancer are always evolving, and now research is pointing to new ways of treating a cancer that has just begun to spread, or metastasize, after initial surgery or radiation. Doctors usually give hormonal therapies in these cases to block testosterone, which is a hormone that makes the cancer grow faster. But newer […]

New study compares long-term side effects from different prostate cancer treatments

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Prostate cancer therapies are improving over time. But how do the long-term side effects from the various options available today compare? Results from a newly published study are providing some valuable insights. Investigators at Vanderbilt University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center spent five years tracking the sexual, bowel, urinary, and hormonal […]

African American and white men who receive comparable treatments for prostate cancer have similar survival

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Last year, we reported on two studies showing that African American men respond at least as well as white men to prostate cancer treatments given in clinical trials. Nationally, African Americans with prostate cancer are more than twice as likely to die of the disease as their white counterparts, and that has fueled speculation that […]

Researchers urge prostate cancer screening for men with BRCA gene defects

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been criticized for flagging too many slow-growing tumors that might never be life-threatening. But some men have inherited gene defects that boost their risk of developing prostate cancers that can be quite aggressive. Is PSA screening particularly well-suited for these genetically defined groups? New research […]

Most men can hold off on radiation after prostate cancer surgery

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Decisions about follow-up care after prostate cancer surgery sometimes involve a basic choice. If the cancer had features that predict it could return, doctors will likely recommend radiation therapy. But when should a man get that treatment? Should he get the radiation right away, even if there’s no evidence of cancer in the body (this […]

Darolutamide approved for nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Sometimes after finishing prostate cancer treatment, men get an unwelcome surprise: their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels creep higher, suggesting tumors too small to be seen lurk somewhere in the body. This leads to several options. Doctors can continue to monitor a man’s condition with imaging scans. Or, given the anxiety associated with rising PSA, they […]

Common hormonal treatments linked to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death in men being treated for prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Treatments for advanced prostate cancer that suppress testosterone, a hormone (also called an androgen) that drives the malignant cells to grow and spread, are collectively referred to as androgen deprivation therapies, or ADT. These therapies can significantly extend lifespans in men who have the disease, but they also have a range of challenging side effects. […]

Popular drugs used for treating enlarged prostates associated with high-grade prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

If a man has an enlarged prostate, there’s a good chance he’ll be treated with a type of drug called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI). These drugs shrink the gland to improve urinary flow, and the approved forms used for treating enlarged prostates come in two varieties: Proscar (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride). However, a side […]