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Finasteride Improves Sensitivity of Digital Rectal Exam

Previous study showed finasteride improves sensitivity of prostate-specific antigen tests in detecting prostate cancer

FRIDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Finasteride improves the sensitivity of the digital rectal exam in detecting prostate cancer, according to study findings published in the May issue of the Journal of Urology. A previous study showed that the drug improved the sensitivity of prostate-specific antigen tests in detecting prostate cancer.

Ian M. Thompson, M.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and colleagues compared the sensitivity and specificity of digital rectal examination in 4,579 men receiving finasteride and 5,112 men receiving placebo. The men had undergone at least one prostate biopsy, had a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test within a year before biopsy, and were on treatment at biopsy.

The researchers found that 15.2 percent of the finasteride group and 21.7 percent of the placebo group were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Finasteride significantly increased the sensitivity of the digital rectal exam compared with placebo (21.3 versus 16.7 percent), with a higher sensitivity for higher grade tumors (Gleason 7 or greater). The specificity of the exam was about 92 percent in both groups.

"Finasteride significantly improves prostate cancer detection with digital rectal examination," Thompson and colleagues conclude.

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