The utility of 5-α reductase inhibitors in the prevention and diagnosis of prostate cancer

Amanda Beth Reed, Dipen J. Parekh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We examine the role of 5-α reductase inhibitors in prevention and diagnosis of prostate cancer, highlight the basic science supporting this role, and analyze the phase III clinical trials addressing the association between 5-α reductase inhibitor use and prostate cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: To date, the Prostate Cancer Prevention trial (PCPT) is the only reported phase III randomized clinical trial to evaluate the role of 5-α reductase inhibitors in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. The original PCPT data revealed that finasteride reduced the risk of prostate cancer by approximately 25% in comparison with placebo. However, patients who received finasteride had a greater incidence of high-grade tumors, which prohibited acceptance of finasteride as a chemopreventive agent by most urologists. Recent updates of the PCPT findings confirmed that finasteride reduces the risk of clinically significant prostate cancer, including high-grade tumors, primarily due to its effects on improving the performance characteristics of prostate-specific antigen and prostate biopsy. There was no increase in high-grade prostate cancer. Rather, there was improved detection of high-grade prostate cancer due to decreased prostate volume. SUMMARY: Finasteride is a valuable chemopreventive tool because it reduces the risk of prostate cancer, including high-grade cancer, and enhances our ability to detect high-grade disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-242
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • 5-α reductase inhibitors
  • Chemoprevention
  • Finasteride
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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