THURSDAY, May 19, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The drug dutasteride, currently used to treat enlarged prostate, may improve the accuracy of prostate biopsies, researchers report. It may even help doctors reduce the number of biopsies needed for diagnosis in patients suspected of having prostate cancer.
"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," study lead author Dr. Elizabeth Ives, a research fellow at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.
The study involved 11 patients who took dutasteride before undergoing ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy.
The drug works to suppress blood flow in benign tissue in the prostate. This enables radiologists using ultrasound to more accurately map out potentially malignant tissues.
Based on blood flow reduction, one patient had a biopsy a week after taking the drug, eight patients had biopsies two weeks after taking the drug, and two patients had biopsies three weeks after taking the drug. Up to four targeted biopsies, as well as six standard biopsies, were performed on each patient.
The researchers report that the targeted biopsies detected prostate cancer in four of the men, while standard biopsy detected three of the four cancers.
"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," Ives said.
She noted that, currently, about 10 percent of men who have a prostate biopsy require a subsequent biopsy.
The study was to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.
The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.