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Drug may boost prostate cancer survival

Drug may boost prostate cancer survival

Prostate cancer patients treated with the hormonal drug Zoladex immediately after radiation therapy live longer than men who wait to take the drug, researchers said Friday. Zoladex, sold by AstraZeneca, reduces levels of sex hormones--testosterone in men and estrogen in women--and is also used to treat hormone-dependent breast cancer in premenopausal women. Side effects of the drug include potential bone loss and loss of libido, said Howard Sandler, chairman of the American College of Radiology's genitourinary cancer committee. A 10-year study, involving 977 patients with locally advanced prostate cancer, was carried out by the clinical research arm of the radiology group. The study showed that 49% of men treated with Zoladex immediately after radiation therapy were alive 10 years later, compared with the 39% of men who waited until their tumors got worse before taking the drug. In addition to the improvement in survival, only 22% of the men who took Zoladex immediately after radiation saw their tumors increase in size, compared with 38% of the men who delayed taking the drug. The study was published in the April issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. "Men diagnosed with prostate cancer can now expect to live longer and live a life free from a recurrence of their disease," Colleen Lawton of the Medical College of Wisconsin, a coauthor of the study, said in a statement. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States with over 230,000 new cases expected this year. It is the second leading cause of death due to cancer, after lung cancer. (Reuters)

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