Arnhem — On 8 May an editorial about the Reduction by
Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial by Fritz H.
Schröder and Monique J. Roobol was published in the online
version of European Urology, the scientific journal of the
European Association of Urology (EAU).
The long-expected final report of the REDUCE trial appeared on
April 1, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine  together with a commentary entitled ‘Chemoprevention of prostate
cancer’ by Dr Patrick Walsh. What were the noteworthy items of the
- The REDUCE trial, contrary to the Prostate Cancer Prevention
Trial (PCPT) , is performed in men who would have been
candidates for biopsy anyway because of PSA values of 2.5 –
10 ng/ml, making the reduction of the chance of a positive biopsy
of 23% clinically relevant.
- The mechanism of dutasteride is not primarily prevention but
the inhibition of growth of small, well differentiated cancers as a
result of the intracellular reduction of 5a-dihydrotestosterone
(DHT). This mechanism which results in the prevention of disease
progression is called ‘tertiary prevention’ and in this setting can
be seen as treatment of minimal disease. This effect is seen in
spite of the simultaneous, up to 40 times increase in testosterone
(T) . It remains unclear why the rise in T does not prevent the
effect of the reduction in DHT.
- The report indicates a small difference in cardiovascular side
effects in disadvantage of dutasteride. The long-term general
health effects obviously remain unknown at this time.
- Unanswered issues: is dutasteride useful in reducing
unnecessary biopsies and does it help to selectively identify
aggressive disease? The reported data show that in men with an
indication of periodic biopsies the reduction in the detection of
potentially over-diagnosed cancers is 28.2% (table 3 in ).
- More detailed analyses are warranted. Extended follow-up to
monitor, for example, the outcome of relevant endpoints such as
delayed diagnosis of aggressive cancers, progression to metastatic
disease and disease-specific mortality in comparison to the control
population will be of great scientific value in spite of the
unblinding of the trial and should therefore have top