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Therapy Bests Observation in Prostate Cancer Study

Treatment reduces mortality risk by around 30 percent in men with low-risk prostate cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A review of Medicare records suggests that treating 65- to 80-year-old men with low- or intermediate-risk localized prostate cancer, rather than just observing them, may reduce their mortality, according to a report in the Dec. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Yu-Ning Wong, M.D., of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues reviewed medical records of 44,630 men enrolled in the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database to see if treating men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer is beneficial.

At the end of a 12-year study period, 37 percent of the observational group had died compared to 23.8 percent of the treatment group who received either radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy. After adjustments, treatment was associated with a statistically significant hazard ratio of 0.69.

"Physicians should apply these provocative findings judiciously and continue their concerted efforts to help patients make informed treatment decisions based not only on survival predictions but also on health status, functional concerns and -- most importantly -- personal preference," cautioned Mark S. Litwin, M.D., M.P.H., and a colleague, in an accompanying editorial.

One of the authors in the original report serves an advisory role for Sanofi Aventis. Litwin has associations with TAP Pharmaceuticals, Amgen and Sanofi Aventis.

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