New blood test guides researchers toward the best treatment for aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Tumors that spread, or metastasize, in the body shed cells into blood that doctors can scrutinize for insights into what a patient’s cancer might do. Analyzing these so-called circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isn’t part of routine care yet, in part because they’re so hard to pick out of the millions of normal cells in a […]

Influential task force issues new recommendations on prostate cancer screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Back in 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) took aim at the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test for prostate cancer with a blanket recommendation against it for all men. This was a big deal. The Task Force is widely seen as the top expert panel on cancer screening in the United States, and […]

Diagnostic MRIs allow some men flagged by PSA screening to avoid a biospy, new study shows

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A specialized type of diagnostic MRI scan can reduce the number of invasive prostate biopsies by nearly a third, according to results from a newly published international study. An MRI machine uses a very large magnet, a radio-wave transmitter, and a computer to construct detailed pictures of structures inside the body. The new study relied […]

New study once again casts doubt on PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer? This remains an important question. Screening relies on a highly imperfect measure, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which is prone to false-positive results. And with mounting evidence that survival benefits from screening pale in comparison with the harms from overtreatment — particularly incontinence and impotence […]

A mix of treatments may extend life for men with aggressive prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

For men diagnosed with aggressive cancer that’s confined to the prostate and nearby tissues, the overarching goal of treatment is to keep the disease from spreading (or metastasizing) in the body. Doctors can treat these men with localized therapies, such as surgery and different types of radiation that target the prostate directly. And they can […]

FDA approves new drug for men at high risk of prostate cancer spread

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

A newly approved drug called apalutamide is giving hope to thousands of men confronting a tenacious problem after being treated for prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels should plummet to zero after surgery, and to near zero after radiation therapy, but in some men, they continue rising even when there’s no other evidence of cancer […]

Newer drugs are improving survival for men with metastatic prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Men with prostate cancer that has spread outside the gland now have several newer drug options available for treatment, and research has found that taking any of them is likely to improve survival duration.

New study downplays potential risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among elderly men treated with hormonal therapy for prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

The male hormone testosterone contributes to normal brain function, and some research links memory loss in older men to testosterone declines that occur naturally with aging. However, testosterone is also like jet fuel for prostate tumors, causing them to grow faster, so during cancer treatment doctors will often give hormonal therapies that suppress its activities […]

Study investigates treatment regret among prostate cancer survivors

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt As they get older, do men with prostate cancer come to regret the treatment decisions they made? A new study of men diagnosed during the mid-1990s indicates that some of them will. Richard Hoffman, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, […]

New study supports lifesaving benefits from PSA screening

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt Does screening for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test save lives? A new study suggests that it does, but at the risk of exposing men with slow-growing tumors that may not be life-threatening to treatments they may not really need. Published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the study reconciles conflicting results […]