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Research Highlights Advances in Management and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Highlights of the 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium


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Sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology

This three-day multidisciplinary symposium is your best opportunity to learn about the newest strategies in prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of genitourinary cancers. Expanding on The Prostate Cancer Symposium, this new symposium offers educational sessions and abstract oral and poster presentations focused on cancers of the testis, bladder, kidney and prostate organs.

Dutasteride Helps Slow Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Growth
A new study has shown that a drug commonly used to treat men with an enlarged prostate gland – dutasteride (Avodart®) – may also slow the growth of early-stage prostate cancer among men participating in active surveillance of their disease.

“In some cases, we treat prostate cancer that may never become lifethreatening. I’m hoping that these results, showing that men may be able to take a drug that slows the cancer’s growth, may allow more men to pursue active surveillance for even longer periods,” said lead author Neil Fleshner, md, Head of Urology at the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the Love Chair in Prostate Cancer Prevention at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

Proficiency in Robotic-Assisted Prostate Surgery Requires Experienced Specialists
In a study to determine the surgical learning curve for robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALP) operations, a retrospective analysis showed that it took more than 1,600 prostate cancer surgeries for surgeons to become proficient at the RALP procedure and be able to remove the cancerous prostate consistently with its edges clear of cancer. RALP is a relatively new technology that has several advantages over typical laparoscopic surgery.

“The robotic platform has been shown to take less training time to learn to safely perform prostate cancer surgery compared to its open and laparoscopic surgery counterparts, but we see that becoming an expert at the robotic operation takes much longer than just simply developing a base level of competence,” said lead author Prasanna Sooriakumaran, MD, PhD, a visiting fellow in Urology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “Our results show that it is possible to get good cancer cure rates and low surgical margins with this operation, but it takes a significant amount of experience.”

Study Shows Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer Death for Men with Low Initial PSAs
A large prostate cancer screening study showed that an initial prostatespecific antigen (PSA) score of 3.0 ng/ml appears to be an appropriate minimum cut-off level to determine the need for biopsy. Few men in the study with low first-time PSAs below 3.0 developed prostate cancer and died from the disease. The findings may help better target testing for those at risk.

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This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, March/April 2011.