These drugs may cause a dangerous delay in prostate cancer diagnosis

A recent study has shown that men taking drugs for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) could face a dangerous delay in prostate cancer diagnosis.

The delay can be as long as two years. These patients may be twice as likely to have advanced disease upon diagnosis.

BPH is a non-cancerous disease, in which the enlarged prostate squeezes or blocks the urethra.

It is estimated that this health condition affects more than 50% of men above the age of 50. It can cause urinary symptoms.

Researchers have known that drugs for treating BPH can inhibit the enzyme 5α-reductase, known as 5-ARIs.

This can lead to a 50% reduction in the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland.

Currently, the PSA test is a standard test for detecting prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can cause an increase in PSA levels.

The decrease of PSA in men taking BPH drugs may cause a dangerous delay in prostate cancer detection.

In this study, the team tested 80,875 men with a PSA-known diagnosis between 2001 and 2015.

The result showed that 29% of men who used 5-ARIs to treat BPH had a biopsy performed within two years of first elevated PSA compared to 59% of men who did not BPH drugs.

Men who took the drugs were diagnosed with prostate cancer 3.6 years after the first signs of elevated levels of PSA compared to 1.4 years for men who did not use the drugs.

In addition, about 25% of 5-ARI users were diagnosed with high-grade cancers, while 17% of nonusers presented with high-grade cancers.

About 7% of users had metastatic disease compared to 3% of nonusers.

The team says that doctors and patients need to raise awareness that these drugs can cause PSA-suppression and delay prostate cancer diagnosis.

It is also important to create clear guidelines for early prostate cancer detection for men prescribed the drugs.

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine. It was done by the University of California San Diego.

Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.