Statins may slow prostate enlargement
MedWire News: Taking statins may slow prostate growth in men with raised prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, report researchers.
The findings, presented at the American Urological Association 2012 Annual Meeting, held this week in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, showed that statin use was associated with a reduction in prostate volume in a study of over 6000 men.
"We don't yet understand the mechanisms that might be causing this," said lead researcher Robert Muller from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA, in a press statement. "Some have suggested that statins may have anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation has been linked to prostate growth."
Muller and team had previously found that starting a statin was associated with a 4.1% reduction in PSA levels within 1 year, and given that PSA correlates with prostate volume, the researchers hypothesized that statins may affect prostate volume.
To investigate, they analyzed data available for 6093 men who participated in the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial, a 4-year randomized study of dutasteride versus placebo in the prevention of prostate cancer. Prostate volume was measured by transrectal ultrasound at 2 and 4 years, and compared with baseline measures.
The researchers report that 1032 (16.9%) men were using statins at baseline.
The team found that 2 years into the trial, prostate growth was significantly reduced among the statin users in both the placebo and the dutasteride groups. After adjustment for multiple confounders, the respective decreases in prostate volume growth were 3.9% and 5.0%.
There were no further reductions, however, over the next 2 years, report Muller et al.
The authors say these reductions in prostate volume are consistent with their previous findings. "The declines in PSA in our prior study may be due to reductions in PV," they suggest.
"Prostate enlargement was once considered an inexorable consequence of aging and genetics but there is growing awareness that prostate growth can be influenced by modifiable risk factors," said Muller.
"In this context, the role of blood cholesterol levels and cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins warrants further study," he concludes.
MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012
By Sally Robertson