General Patient Information

Possible Link Between Low Vitamin D Levels and Prostate Cancer Risk

A recent study published in Clinical Cancer Research, (May 1, 2014; 20; 2289-99) indicated that men at risk of prostate cancer are more likely to develop an aggressive form of the disease if they are deficient in vitamin D. University of Illinois – Chicago and Northwestern University researchers examined data from 667 men aged 40 more »

1) MRI or Ultrasound-Guided Biopsies; 2) Effect of Diet on Prostate Cancer; and, 3) Two Genes Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer.

1) A recent article was published from the Washington University School of Medicine which compared the results of prostate cancer biopsies as guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with those obtained via ultrasound guidance. It was concluded that MRI-guided biopsies were more likely to find aggressive tumors than those that rely on ultrasound. For specific more »

All You Need to Know About the Gleason Score and Its Diagnostic Use.

The Johns Hopkins Health Alerts are extremely informative about various health issues including prostate cancer. The latest alert (June 14th)  discussed the Gleason Score, the most important factor in predicting the current state of a prostate cancer. The Gleason Score is based on tumor grade, which is an indication of the tumor’s aggressiveness. The tumor more »

Exercise and Prostate Cancer; Enzalutamide Extends Survival; and, Synergy in Cancer Risk Assessment.

Several articles of interest were recently published in the February-March, 2014 NewsPulse from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). This information had been presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting. The first article described the benefits of exercise in men prior to their prostate cancer diagnosis as well as during therapy for their more »

A “Buffet” of Prostate Cancer News Items; Hormonal and Radiation Therapy, Younger Patients and the Effects of Statin Drugs.

1) Intermittent Hormonal Therapy: Prostate cancer is often kept “under control” by depriving the cancer cells of their “fuel”, namely androgens such as testosterone or dihydrotestosterone. Androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy (ADT) is often applied on an intermittent basis the goal of which is to minimize potentially harmful side effects. The May 11th edition of the more »

Screening and Treatment News Items from the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) Highlights

The Prostate Cancer Research Institute publishes a monthly periodical called “Insights”. At the end of 2013, they also updated their user-friendly and searchable website, The February 2014 issue of Insights contained considerable information which I will briefly summarize. I encourage you to see the articles in their entirety. First, Dr. John Davis from MD more »

Phase 2 Clinical Trial Demonstrates Benefits of Metformin in Prostate Cancer.

In a study published in the January 4th, 2014 issue of the journal, European Urology, Swiss researchers found that treatment with the anti-diabetic drug metformin in patients with hormone-resistant prostate cancer increased their progression-free survival and prolonged PSA doubling time. The one-year study included 44 men who were given 1,000 mg (1 gram) of metformin twice more »

Coffee, Caffeine, PSA Velocity and Hormonal Therapy.

As we have come to expect, the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts always contain useful information for prostate cancer patients.  For example, the January 19th, 2014  issue contained a primer describing the basic concepts and rationale of hormonal therapy.  The February 9th edition reported three published studies which link coffee drinking and caffeine to a more »

1) Financial Assistance for Prostate Cancer (PC) Patients; 2) Three New Commercially-Available Genetic PC Tests; 3) Phase 2 Clinical Trials for Metastatic PC Patients.

1) Payment Assistance for Under Insured Patients. The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation offers financial assistance to prostate cancer patients who lack full insurance coverage, allowing access to treatments previously out of reach. In 2012, PAN started an initiative to raise funds to provide castrate-resistant patients access to new and necessary treatments. To date, 2,200 more »

Radiation Therapy Meeting Highlights; IMRT Review.

PCRI Insights is published monthly by the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) and is must-reading for men with prostate cancer. The November 2013 issue featured a summary of several pertinent abstracts of presentations given at a recent annual meeting of radiation therapists. One abstract presented cure rates achieved with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) combined with a boost from more »

Measuring PSA Activity May Be a Better Predictor of Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness.

Research results recently published online in the August 9th issue of The Prostate (Prostate 2013, DOI:10.1002/pros.22714) suggest that measuring the biological enzymatic activity (or lack thereof) of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) could be used as a predictor of prostate cancer (PCa) aggressiveness.  As we know, the level of PSA in serum is often used to determine the necessity more »

Johns Hopkins Urology: A Valuable Resource for Prostate Cancer Information.

The Department of Urology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland has consistently been rated best (#1) in the annual survey published in U.S. News and World Report. Hopkins urologists provide an excellent source of prostate information via a number of publications. Recent examples are as follows.  The July 28th-Aug. 3rd issue of the Johns Hopkins Health Alerts more »

PSA Velocity, Questions to Ask Your Doctor, Nanoparticle Drug Delivery and Xofigo Review and Video.

I come across numerous smaller articles of interest related to prostate cancer. Rather than summarizing them in separate blog posts, I’d like to send this short list of four. Hopefully, one or more will be of interest to you. 1) On June 5th, 2013, the Johns Hopkins Health Alerts published a short article entitled “What We Can Learn more »

Guard Against Osteoporosis When On Androgen-Deprivation (Hormonal) Therapy.

I recently learned of a good friend who has asymptomatic but metastatic prostate cancer which was being controlled by intermittent androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy. One of the potential side effects of such therapy is the risk of osteopenia and the more serious condition, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and the processes involved in breaking down bone (resorption) by cells called osteoclasts and generating new more »

Predicting Outcomes and Characterizing Prostate Tumors.

For a newly-diagnosed prostate cancer patient, the three most important initial parameters are the blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and its rate of increase, the biopsy-based Gleason score that ranks a tumor’s aggressiveness, and the clinical stage of the tumor based on its physical appearance. In the early 1990’s, Dr. Alan Partin, currently director of Urology at more »

Updates on Active Surveillance (AS) for Prostate Cancer.

Active Surveillance (AS) is a monitoring program with possible application for patients diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer. It is gaining popularity as a means to avoid overtreatment of indolent, slow-growing prostate cancers. The likelihood of harboring small bits of prostate cancer in a man is about equal to his age as a percentage. For example, in men more »

Weekly Consumption of Deep-Fried Foods Linked to Prostate Cancer.

I don’t usually write about the implications of diet on prostate cancer. But a former scientific colleague recently sent me an article from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News which cited research findings from the well-respected Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Researchers there found that men who reported eating French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, and/or doughnuts at more »