Finasteride, prostate cancer, and weight gain: Evidence for genetic or environmental factors that affect cancer outcomes during finasteridetreatment

Yoon Ju Song, Catherine Tangen, Phyllis Goodman, Howard L. Parnes, M. Scott Lucia, Ian M. Thompson, Alan R. Kristal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Finasteride affects both prostate cancer risk and body weight. We examined whether, during 7 years of finasteride treatment, the magnitude of weight change was associated with the diagnosis of no, low-, or high-grade cancer. METHODS. Data are from 10,057 participants in Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), a randomized trial of finasteride for primary prevention of prostate cancer. Mixed linear models were used to calculate percentage change in weight per year, controlling for demographic and health-related covariates. RESULTS. Weight gain was modestly lower in the finasteride compared to placebo arms (0.14 vs. 0.16% per year, P < 0.025). On the placebo arm, there was no association of weight gain with cancer outcomes. In the finasteride arm, annual weight gain among men without cancer was 0.14%, and among men with cancer ranged from 0.01% for those diagnosed with high-grade cancer following a clinical indication for biopsy (P = 0.03 vs. no cancer) to 0.25% among men diagnosed with low-grade cancer at the end of the trial with no indication for biopsy (P = 0.002 vs. no cancer). CONCLUSIONS. In finasteride-treated men, there are significant associations between prostate cancer outcomes and weight gain, which suggest that there are common or closely related individual-level factors that affect both treatment responses. This supports the hypothesis that there are genetic characteristics and/or environmental exposures that affect finasteride outcomes which, when identified, could be used to target men most likely to benefit from finasteride treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2008


  • Finasteride
  • Prostate cancer
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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