Men's health

Statins may prevent prostate cancer recurring

Statins Lowers risk by 30%

Drugs used to lower cholesterol - statins - may also prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer in men who have had surgery for the condition.

A study found that men treated with statins to lower their cholesterol were 30 percent less likely to see their prostate cancer returning after surgery, compared to men who do not take the drugs.

Researchers examined the medical records of 1319 US men who had surgery to remove their prostate.

At the time of surgery 18 percent of the men – 236 – were already taking statins. After surgery, the men were tested for rising levels of the protein PSA in the blood, an indicator that the cancer has returned.

They discovered that 16 per cent of the statin users had signs of the cancer returning compared with 25 per cent of men who were not taking the drugs.

And higher doses of the drugs was associated with a lower risk of the cancer returning.

Overall, the men taking statins had the risk of the cancer returning lowered by 30 per cent.

However, more work is needed to confirm the results, the team of researchers said.

Dr Robert Hamilton, from the University of Toronto who led the study said: "These findings are intriguing, but we do need to approach them with some caution."

"For example, we don't know the diet, exercise or smoking habits of these men. So it's not entirely clear if the lower risk we detected is related to the statins alone – it could be due to other factors we were not able to measure."

"We do feel, however, that based on these findings and those from other studies, the time is ripe to perform a well-controlled randomized trial to test whether statins do indeed slow prostate cancer progression."

The findings are published in the journal Cancer.

This article was published on Mon 28 June 2010

Image © Andrey Ushakov -

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