Does Finasteride Limit Risk of Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

A drug that has been used to fight baldness and enlarged prostate glands might also protect men against prostate cancer.

Sold as Canadian Propecia for baldness and as Proscar generic for benign prostatic hyper-plasia (a noncancerous condition), finas-teride (Merck) lowers levels of testosterone, a form of the male hormone that promotes the growth of prostate cells. In a massive study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the drug reduced the risk of prostate cancer by nearly 25%. The trial was stopped a year early because the results were so striking.

Although the trial suggests that prostate cancer might be partly preventable, experts urged caution, because although the drug appeared to reduce the overall number of cancers, patients might be at greater risk for more aggressive tumors.