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12-05-2013 | Oncology | Article

History of statin use lowers prostate cancer mortality


Free abstract

medwireNews: Research shows that men with prostate cancer have a significantly reduced risk for death if they took statins prior to their diagnosis.

However, results from the prospective, population-based study found no link between the likelihood for recurrence or progression and the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The findings, published in The Prostate, were based on data for 1001 men who were interviewed at diagnosis with prostate cancer between 2002 and 2005. Overall, 289 (28.9%) men had taken statins at least once per week for 3 months or longer and 94% of these men had taken statins in the year before diagnosis.

Over an average follow up of 7.6 years, 123 (12.3%) men died, including 39 (3.9%) deaths from prostate cancer. The rate of prostate cancer deaths after 10 years of follow up was significantly lower among statin users than non-users at 1.0% compared with 5.1%.

And, in multivariate analyses, statin use was associated with an 81% reduced risk for prostate cancer death. However, there was no association between statin use and deaths from other causes (8.7 vs 8.3%; users vs non-users).

Among 685 men for whom data were available at a mean follow up of 6.1 years, 1551 (22.0%) experienced progression or recurrence, and there was no difference in risk for progression or recurrence according to statin use.

While statin use has been linked to a decreased risk for prostate cancer, the association between the drugs and prostate cancer mortality has only been explored in a handful of observational studies, the authors explain.

They say that statins may reduce the risk for prostate cancer death through both cholesterol- and non-cholesterol-mediated mechanisms, including reduced signaling via cholesterol-rich domains in cell membranes of prostate cancer cells and reduced concentrations of mevalonate, a precursor for several isoprenoids that can promote prostate cancer cell survival and proliferation.

"If the results of our study are validated in other patient cohorts with extended follow-up for cause-specific death, an intervention trial of statin drugs in prostate cancer patients may be justified," said co-author Janet Stanford (University of Washington, Seattle, USA) in a press statement.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter

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