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Recent research reported that the drug dutasteride reduced the risk of prostate cancer by about ¼ in high-risk men. Currently, the drug is used to shrink enlarged prostates. It is sold under the brand name Avodart and has been found slightly more effective than the similar drug finasteride which could also lower the risk of prostate tumors.

GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures Avodart, said on Monday that it would apply to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to market the drug for risk reduction in men with high PSA levels — a measure of prostate cancer risk — a family history of the disease or other risk factors, such as ethnicity.

Doctors don’t need to wait for such permission to prescribe it as a preventive as it is already available. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. It affects 192,000 men per year and kills 27,000 men.

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