Statins vs. Advanced Prostate Cancer

Men Taking Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs May Be Less Likely to Get Advanced Prostate Cancer

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on December 19, 2006
From the WebMD Archives

Dec. 19, 2006 -- Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may lower men's chances of developing advanced prostate cancer, a new study shows.

But it is "premature to recommend the use of statins for the prevention of prostatecancer," write the researchers.

They included Elizabeth Platz, ScD, of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Platz and colleagues studied data from nearly 35,000 men who were health care professionals.

In 1990, the men had never had cancer and were in their late 50s, on average.

They noted all the drugs they took, including cholesterol-lowering drugs, in 1990 and every two years through 2002.

From 1990 to 2002, the men had 2,579 cases of prostate cancer, 316 of which were advanced cases.

Advanced Prostate Cancer Findings

Overall, statin use didn't appear to sway the men's chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

But advanced prostate cancer was a different story.

Men taking statin drugs were about half as likely to have advanced prostate cancer as those not taking statins, even after taking other risk factors (such as age) into account.

The longer men had been taking statins, the less likely they were to have advanced prostate cancer, the study shows.

Current statin users were also more likely to have had at least one screening test for PSA (prostate specific antigen).

High PSA levels can be an indicator of prostate cancer or other noncancerous prostate problems.

PSA screening "did not appear to account for our findings," write Platz and colleagues.

But they say it's still possible that "subtle differences in patterns of PSA screening between statin users and nonusers" may have biased the results.

The researchers call for further studies to see statins can prevent advanced prostate cancer.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Platz, E. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dec. 20, 2006; vol 98: pp 1819-1825. News release, Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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