The use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called “Statins,” which include drugs such as Lipitor and Pravachol, may cut the risk of aggressive forms of Prostate cancer, researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Recent reports have tied statin use to a reduced risk of various malignancies. However, only one study looked specifically at the association with Prostate cancer and it found a statistically insignificant increase in risk with statin use.
In the present study, Dr. Jackilen Shannon, from Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, and colleagues compared statin use in100 Prostate cancer patients referred for biopsy and 202 men without Prostate cancer but who shared characteristics with the patients. Data on statin use was obtained from an electronic pharmacy database.
Thirty-six percent of cancer patients and 49 percent of controls were statin users, the authors note. After accounting for other potential risk factors, statin use was tied to a 62-percent reduction in Prostate cancer risk.
Further analysis showed that after stratification by aggressiveness of the tumor, the inverse relationship between Statin use and cancer risk only remained for men with aggressive tumor types.
The authors point out that further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the apparent anti-Prostate cancer effect of statins.
“If our results are confirmed in a larger prospective study,” they conclude, “they may provide the evidence necessary to consider the use of statin drugs in Prostate cancer prevention.”
SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, August 15, 2005.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD