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Interrupting Prostate Cancer Treatment Could Shorten Life, Study Finds

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

CHICAGO -- Taking periodic breaks from a commonly used treatment for prostate cancer could shorten men's lives, researchers reported here [the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology] on Saturday.

In a large study, intermittent hormonal therapy proved to be less effective than continuous therapy for certain men with metastatic prostate cancer. The finding is "striking and surprising because it goes against the conventional belief," said Dr. Maha Hussain, professor of medicine and urology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the lead investigator in the study.

Another study found that Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga, a pill now approved as a last-ditch treatment for prostate cancer, might help a broader group of patients if used somewhat earlier in the course of the disease. Use of Zytiga significantly delayed the worsening of cancer and also appeared to prolong lives, though more time is needed to determine that definitively.

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