Men with no signs of prostate cancer should talk to their provider about taking a 5a-reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) for seven years to ward off the disease. This is a key recommendation of a new joint guideline from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Urological Association (AUA).

The 5-ARI agents reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that can contribute to the growth of prostate cancer. ASCO and AUA suggest that men without any signs of prostate cancer who have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level <3.0 and are screened regularly or plan to get yearly PSA tests speak to their clinician about the preventive therapy. Men who are already taking a 5-ARI for other conditions should consider continuing the treatment as a means of preventing the development of prostate cancer.

ASCO and AUA based their recommendations in part on results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, in which participants took a 5-ARI for one to seven years. Most of the men who took the drug to prevent the disease showed an overall relative risk reduction of approximately 25%.

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The guideline was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (accessed April 17, 2009) and The Journal of Urology.