Study shows enlarged prostate not a cancer warning sign

SAN ANTONIO (May 9, 2011) – Despite the recommendations of some health groups, the symptoms of an enlarged prostate are not associated with the risk of prostate cancer, according to new data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, a decade-long study of almost 19,000 men.

The data suggest that men and their physicians should instead look to a combination of PSA levels and other factors when assessing prostate cancer risk, said trial leader Ian M. Thompson, Jr., M.D., director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

“Many organizations that speak to ‘cancer-related symptoms’ suggest that men with problems related to urination should be checked for prostate cancer,” Dr. Thompson said. “What we demonstrated is that prostate enlargement symptoms are absolutely unassociated with risk of cancer.”

“This means that you cannot rely on symptoms but, if you want to find prostate cancer early, you must examine the patient and measure PSA levels,” he said.

More than 2,000 San Antonio men participated in the trial, which ran from 1993 to 2003. The latest results from the study were published online last week in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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