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Nonhormonal drug reduces hot flashes in men treated for prostate cancer

CHICAGO -- North Central Cancer Treatment Group (http://ncctg/) researchers based at Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayo.edu/) in Rochester, Minn., have discovered that low doses of a drug used to prevent epileptic seizures and to treat nerve pain caused by shingles substantially reduces hot flashes in patients who are undergoing anti-hormonal treatment, or androgen-deprivation therapy, for prostate cancer.

In presenting results of a 223-patient, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (http://www.asco.org/portal/site/ASCO), Mayo Clinic investigators report that the drug gabapentin reduced the frequency and the intensity of hot flashes by up to 46 percent in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy. The men who received gabapentin reported fewer side effects than those receiving a placebo tablet, the researchers say.

Many men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy suffer debilitating hot flashes, but until now the only therapeutic agents proven to provide relief are androgen-originating hormones, some of which can actually fuel their cancer. So any symptom relief these men get comes with worry about new cancer growth.

"To my knowledge, this is the first nonhormonal treatment of hot flashes in men, where results from a placebo-controlled trial are positive enough to support that a nonhormonal medication can be used to help some of our patients," says the studys lead investigator, Mayo Clinic oncologist Charles Loprinzi, M.D (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/staff/loprinzi_cl.cfm).

He adds that hot flashes in patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy can be quite severe. Overall, between 60 percent and 80 percent of these patients suffer from hot f
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Contact: Elizabeth Zimmermann
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
3-Jun-2007


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