Statins may lower risk of advanced prostate cancer

January 4, 2007

Men taking statins to lower their cholesterol are not at increased risk for developing prostate cancer, according to an ongoing multicenter, prospective cohort study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2006; 98:1819-25).

Men taking statins to lower their cholesterol are not at increased risk for developing prostate cancer, according to an ongoing multicenter, prospective cohort study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2006; 98:1819-25). More important, the study suggests that statin use may actually reduce the likelihood of developing advanced prostate cancer.

Researchers including Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, warn that it is “premature to recommend the use of statins for the prevention of prostate cancer.”

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 35,000 healthy male health professionals in the United States between 1990 and 2002. The men reported their use of cholesterol-lowering drugs on biennial questionnaires, and prostate cancer diagnosis was confirmed by reviewing their medical records.

In 376,939 person-years of follow-up, 2,579 cases of prostate cancer were identified, including 316 cases of regionally invasive, metastatic, or fatal disease. Age-standardized incidence rates per 100,000 person-years were 38 and 89 for current statin users and for past or non-users, respectively.

Multivariable-adjusted relative risk of advanced disease was 0.51 (95% confidence interval: 0.30-0.86) and of metastatic or fatal disease was 0.39 (95% CI: 0.19-0.77) for current statin use compared with no current use. No association was found between statin use and the overall risk of developing prostate cancer (RR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.85-1.09). However, protracted use of statins appeared to confer reduced risk of advanced disease: relative risk for use beyond 5 years was 0.26 (95% CI: 0.08-0.83).