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Prostate. 1993;22(1):31-7.

The effect of finasteride on prostate-specific antigen in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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Epidemiology Department, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486.


Finasteride is a specific 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that has been shown to reduce prostate size and decrease serum levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). Among men who received finasteride (5 mg/day) for 12 months in North American clinical trials and in whom prostate cancer was not diagnosed the median percentage change in PSA was -50% (5-95% range: -81% to +20%). At baseline 72% had PSA < or = 4.0 ng/ml and 93% had PSA < or = 10.0 ng/ml. After 12 months on finasteride, 75% had PSA < or = 2.0 ng/ml and 95% had PSA < or = 5.0 ng/ml. Thus, the proportion of BPH patients with PSA levels of 2.0 ng/ml and 5.0 ng/ml after 12 months of treatment was comparable to the proportion with pretreatment PSA levels of 4.0 ng/ml and 10.0 ng/ml. Among the 10 men in these trials subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer while on long-term finasteride therapy (5 mg/day), the median percentage change in PSA was -26% (range: -48% to +12%). Limited experience with finasteride in men with prostate cancer suggests that the reduction in PSA of malignant origin appears to be no greater than the percentage reduction in PSA of benign origin. These effects on PSA have not been shown to confer any therapeutic benefit. Physicians using finasteride should be aware of its effect on PSA levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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