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24 October 2010
Cholesterol drug shrinks enlarged prostates
by George Atkinson

In animal tests, Zetia, an FDA approved cholesterol-lowering drug, reduced enlarged prostates to the same extent as a drug specifically used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

"We don't know the mechanism, but the results suggest to us that lowering cholesterol has the potential to reduce BPH in men," says senior author of the study, Keith Solomon, from Children's Hospital Boston. "This brings up the possibility that other cholesterol lowering therapies, including exercise and diet, may prevent BPH from developing."

The latest findings emerge from experiments with a strain of Syrian hamsters that undergo prostate enlargement naturally. The study compared the cholesterol drug Zetia (ezetimibe) against Proscar (finasteride), a standard therapy for the treatment of BPH. Ezetimibe reduced prostatic enlargement in aged hamsters as effectively as finasteride and combining the two drugs worked better than either one alone.

Interestingly, the study also found that finasteride caused atrophy of the hamster prostate while ezetimibe did not. "These findings provide strong evidence that the cholesterol-lowering drug inhibits BPH by a novel mechanism," said study co-author Michael R. Freeman.

The researchers now want to test lower doses of ezetimibe and finasteride to examine whether the condition can be reversed with fewer side effects. They also want to assess prophylactic cholesterol lowering to determine if the enlargement can be prevented, and whether genes and proteins mediating the effect of cholesterol on the prostate can be identified. "We really want to be in the position to help conduct a clinical trial to test whether this therapy might have efficacy in human patients," Solomon said.

Related:
Dealing With An Enlarged Prostate (BPH)
Get Active, Avoid Urological Problems
Prostate Cancer Slowed With Low Fat Diet

Source: Journal of Urology




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