Drug Cuts Side Effects in Prostate Cancer

Hormone blocker helps build bone mineral density, study says

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TUESDAY, June 29, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An alternative hormone blocker called bicalutamide causes fewer side effects in prostate cancer patients, claims a new study.

Bicalutamide blocks androgen activity by binding to the hormone's receptors. The study of 51 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer found those taking bicalutamide had improved bone density and fewer side effects than those taking leuprolide, a traditional therapy that lowers androgen levels.

"The differences between the two groups were dramatic. Bone mineral density increased among men taking bicalutamide, while men in the leuprolide group lost bone," lead researcher Dr. Matthew Smith, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.

The study was partially funded by AstraZeneca, which markets bicalutamide under the brand name Casodex. It appears in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer treatment.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, June 28, 2004

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