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Prostate cancer prognosis not affected by deferred treatment, study finds

By Mark Pownall

There are no more prostate cancer deaths in diagnosed men whose treatment is deferred than in those who have immediate treatment, a US prospective study of 3,331 men has found.

About half (51%) of all men who had ‘watchful waiting' management after a diagnosis of prostate cancer did not have any form of invasive treatment in a follow up period of a mean 7.7 years, according to Harvard Medical School researchers.

The rest of the men who opted for watchful waiting (49%) were treated after a mean 3.9 years after diagnosis.

The men who went on to have treatment tended to be younger, and to have more advanced disease with a higher clinical stage, higher Gleason score and higher levels of prostate-specific antigen at diagnosis.

The prognosis was similar in both groups of men. The rates of the development of metastases were similar in men in the watchful waiting and in the immediate treatment group - 2.4 and 2.5 per 1,000 person years respectively. Deaths as a result of prostate cancer were also similar in the groups - 2.4 and 2.6 per 1,000 person-years.

Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009 27: 4980-4985.

The study found there are no more prostate cancer deaths in diagnosed men whose treatment is deferred than in those who have immediate treatment The study found there are no more prostate cancer deaths in diagnosed men whose treatment is deferred than in those who have immediate treatment

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