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A total of 28 untreated patients with asymptomatic, stage D prostate cancer was randomized in a double-blinded fashion to receive finasteride (10 mg. per day), a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor or placebo. Patients were evaluated at 3-week intervals by rectal examination, and serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) levels, and at 6-week intervals by bone scan and transrectal ultrasound determinations of prostatic volume. Patients stopped the medication at week 6 at the discretion of the investigator when PSA levels increased from baseline. After 12 weeks all patients were reevaluated. Of the patients 13 received finasteride and 15 received placebo. The 2 groups did not differ statistically with respect to patient age, initial PSA and PAP level, or the extent of metastases on initial bone scan. A statistically significant decrease in the median percentage change from baseline in PSA at weeks 3 and 6 occurred in the finasteride group compared to the placebo group (-22.9% versus -2.9% and -15.1% versus +11.7%, respectively, p less than 0.05). Finasteride had no effect upon PAP, serum testosterone, prostatic volume or appearance of bone scans. A decrease in serum PSA in the finasteride treatment group suggests that finasteride exerts a minor effect in patients with prostate cancer. This effect does not approach that seen with medical or surgical castration yet because of the potency preserving feature and the lack of toxicity finasteride may warrant further study in the treatment of prostate cancer.


Journal article


J Urol

Publication Date





1201 - 1204


5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors, Acid Phosphatase, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Androstenes, Azasteroids, Biomarkers, Tumor, Double-Blind Method, Finasteride, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Staging, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Prostatic Neoplasms, Quality of Life