Statin use may reduce risk of PCa recurrence

July 15, 2010

A recent study concludes that statin drugs may lessen the risk for return of prostate cancer in individuals who have undergone radical prostatectomy.

Statin drugs may lessen the risk for return of prostate cancer in individuals who have undergone radical prostatectomy, a recent study concludes.

The study, led by Stephen J. Freedland, MD, of Duke University, Durham, NC, found that men taking statins had a 30% less likelihood of cancer redeveloping following removal of the prostate, compared with men not taking the drugs. The recurrence risk for men taking the highest doses of statins (>20 mg/d) was cut in half.

In the study, which was presented at the AUA annual meeting in San Francisco and published online in Cancer (June 28, 2010), researchers examined the records of 1,319 men who underwent radical prostatectomy. Of the group, 236 men were taking statins to lower their cholesterol and heart disease risk at the time of surgery. Those taking statins were followed for a median of 2 years; median follow-up for the nonusers was 38 months. Recurrences were evaluated by measuring rising PSA levels following surgery.

There were biochemical recurrences during follow-up in approximately 300 men, including 16% of statin users and 25% of nonusers. For men taking simvastatin (Zocor), >20 mg/d, recurrence risk dropped by 50%. Men taking

"The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer," Dr. Freedland said. "Previous studies have shown that statins have anti-cancer properties, but it’s not entirely clear when it’s best to use them-or even how they work."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and AUA.