Roswell Park Researchers to Study Finasteride and Selenium in Preventing Prostate Cancer

Friday, December 11, 2009

BUFFALO, NY – Clement Ip, PhD, Professor Emeritus in Oncology from the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the principal investigator of a $5.4M P01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the role of finasteride and selenium in preventing prostate cancer.

Finasteride is a drug used to treat male pattern baldness, and has since been approved to treat men with prostate cancer. Finasteride is more well-known by its brand names, including Propecia. The development and enlargement of the prostate gland are dependent on the potent androgen 5a-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride metabolites in blood and urine and decreases DHT. Selenium is thought to work cooperatively with finasteride to modulate certain molecular events in controlling the clonal expansion of prostate cancer cells.

The grant will fund three related projects. The first project will delineate how finasteride and selenium work together. The second project will investigate the role of peroxiredoxin, more commonly referred to as Prx1, in modifying the cancer control efficacy of finasteride/selenium. The third project will take the data from the first two projects and put it to use in a clinical trial setting. The clinical trial, using tissue samples from pre-prostatectomy patients, will attempt to verify the effect of finasteride/selenium, and determine whether a high level of Prx1 diminishes the sensitivity of patients to finasteride/selenium intervention.

James Mohler, MD, Vice President of Translational Research and Chair of the Urology Department at Roswell Park, and James Marshall, PhD, Senior Vice President in the Cancer Prevention and Control department at Roswell Park will collaborate with Dr. Ip on the projects.

The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Roswell Park, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit Roswell Park’s website at, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email

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Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager