Statin use may reduce risk of high-grade prostate cancer

March 24, 2011

Men who take statins may be 60% less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the Prostate Cancer Research Program?s Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, FL.

Men who take statins may be 60% less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the Prostate Cancer Research Program’s Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, FL.

"The findings provide hope for the more than 200,000 men in the United States diagnosed with prostate cancer annually," said Navy Captain Melissa Kaime, MD, of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, in which the Prostate Cancer Research Program resides. “This may represent a significant step in the process leading up to the development of a new product for prostate cancer prevention."

Using electronic and administrative files from the Veteran Affairs New England Healthcare System, Bedford, MA, investigators identified 55,875 men taking either a statin or antihypertensive medication. The dataset included men at various levels of risk for prostate cancer.

Results of the study showed that, compared with men taking an antihypertensive medication, statin users were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Furthermore, statin users were 13% less likely to be diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer and 60% less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer. Total cholesterol was also found to predict both total and high-grade prostate cancer incidence, but not low-grade prostate cancer incidence.

"Although prostate cancer is commonly diagnosed, few risk factors for high-grade prostate cancer are known, and few prevention strategies exist," said Wildon Farwell, MD, of the VA Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. "Learning more about the relationship between statins and prostate cancer may provide important clues into the basic biology of prostate cancer."