Hamster study shows cholesterol-lowering drug shrinks enlarged prostates

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Washington, Oct 22 (ANI): In a new study, researchers found that a cholesterol-lowering drug reduced the enlarged prostates of hamsters to the same extent as a drug commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Together, the drugs worked even better, say researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and their colleagues.

"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 Keith Solomon.

"This brings up the possibility that other cholesterol lowering therapies, including exercise and diet, may prevent BPH from developing," he said.

The latest findings emerge from experiments with a strain of Syrian hamsters that undergo prostate enlargement naturally.

Led by first author Kristine Pelton, the team tested ezetimibe, an FDA-approved hypercholesterolemic drug (Zetia; Merck) against finasteride (Proscar, Propecia; Merck), 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.

In an unexpected finding, pathologist and co-author Dolores Di Vizio, MD, PhD, observed 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 co-author Michael R. Freeman.

The study also validated the hamster strain as a good preclinical model for testing novel BPH therapies.

The report was published in the October issue of the Journal of Urology. (ANI)

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