An evaluation of the safety of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia

close up of female student studying

Centre for Public Health

PhD Funded Studentship

An evaluation of the safety of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia

Project Description

Finasteride and dutasteride are 5α-reductase inhibitors, medications that are commonly used to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). These act by inhibiting the last step in androgen synthesis, the reduction of testosterone to the more potent androgen dihydrotestosterone, reducing the ratio of testosterone to oestrogen. While these medications are known to be effective at treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, recently there have been concerns raised about potential side effects, such as type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Contrastingly, it has been hypothesised that these medications may exert unintended protective effects on melanoma and gastrointestinal cancer incidence in men. Yet evidence on these outcomes remains limited and conflicting, thus new well-conducted studies are needed to assess these important safety questions. This project will utilize electronic medical records from the UK Clinical Practice Datalink and advanced epidemiological and statistical methods to evaluate the safety of these medications.

Overall, this pharamcoepidemiological project will aim to investigate whether the use of these medications influences these safety outcomes in men diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, providing important information for patients, physicians and regulatory agencies. Applicants should have a background in epidemiology or statistics or an equivalent degree with experience in data handling and analysis.  


*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website

Entry Requirements 

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, psychology, economics or social sciences subject

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU


Dr B Hicks

Dr C Cardwell

Closing Date

Closing date for application is: Sunday, January 20, 2019

How to Apply

Please refer to 'Entry Requirements' for specific admissions criteria.

Apply online via the Queen's on-line application portal .  Guidance is available on the University’s Prospective Student pages.

When applying for a project, please choose ‘MEDICINE’ as your subject area/School.

Please ensure you adhere to the closing dates.

If you have any further queries please contact:  or +44 (0) 28 9097 2619/2042.

Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre

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For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.

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