June 2, 2005 A drug that is currently used to treat an enlarged prostate may improve the accuracy of prostate biopsies, a pilot study shows.
The drug, dutasteride, suppresses blood flow in benign tissue of the prostate, allowing radiologists to better target cancer tissue using Doppler ultrasound, said Elizabeth Ives, MD, a research fellow at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and lead author of the study. The study included 11 patients who took dutasteride before their Doppler ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy. Based on blood flow reduction, biopsy was performed on one patient after one week of taking the drug, eight patients after two weeks of taking the drug and two patients after three weeks of taking the drug. Up to four targeted biopsies as well as six standard biopsies were performed on each patient. Prostate cancer was detected in four of the patients using the targeted biopsy method; the standard method detected three of the four cancers, Dr. Ives said. “If we can reduce the benign blood flow, we're better able to see where the cancer tissue is located, and detect cancer if it is present,” she said.
Currently about 10% of men who have a prostate biopsy need to have a repeat procedure done, said Dr. Ives. “If cancer is there and we find it on the first biopsy, these men can be diagnosed sooner and be spared from having to undergo a repeat biopsy,” she said.
Dr. Ives’ mentor for the research project is Ethan Halpern, MD, at Thomas Jefferson University. The study results will be presented at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting on May 19 in New Orleans, LA.
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