Estimated impact of the prostate cancer prevention trial on population mortality

Joseph M. Unger, Ian M. Thompson, Michael LeBlanc, John J. Crowley, Phyllis J. Goodman, Leslie G. Ford, Charles A. Coltman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The potential public health impact of the recently completed Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) is debated. The results indicated that the period prevalence of prostate cancer was reduced by 24.8% due to finasteride, whereas an increase in the rate of high-grade tumors (Gleason score 8-10) among men who were diagnosed with cancer also was found (5.0% in the PCPT placebo arm vs. 11.9% in the PCPT finasteride arm). Whether the increased Gleason score was valid or was a histologic artifact is under investigation. METHODS. The authors estimated the number of person-years saved assuming a 24.8% reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer for 5 years among United States males age ≥ 55 years. Scenarios for different proportions of patients with high-grade Gleason scores also were considered. RESULTS. With a 24.8% reduction in the number of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, the authors estimated that 316,760 person-years would be saved due to finasteride in the United States. An absolute increase of 6.9% in the proportion of men with high-grade tumors in the United States cancer population (corresponding to the difference between the rates on the placebo and finasteride arms of the PCPT) would reduce the number of person-years saved to 262,567. For each absolute increase of 5% in the proportion of patients with high-grade tumors, the number of person-years saved would be reduced by approximately 39,000. CONCLUSIONS. The results of the PCPT may have a major impact on population mortality from prostate cancer if they are applied clinically. The potential detrimental effects of an increased rate of patients who have prostate cancer with high-grade Gleason scores would be outweighed by a reduction in incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1375-1380
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Finasteride
  • Prevention
  • Prostate cancer
  • Public health
  • Statistical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimated impact of the prostate cancer prevention trial on population mortality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this