July 2nd, 2010

Statins May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence


Statin use may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence among men who have undergone a radical prostatectomy. These findings were recently published in the journal Cancer.[1]

Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs; they are the most commonly prescribed class of prescription drugs in the United States. Some studies have suggested that in addition to their cardiovascular effects, statins may provide a prostate cancer benefit. It’s unclear, however, whether statins might prevent prostate cancer, treat prostate cancer, or simply affect PSA levels alone.

A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology evaluated whether statin use could reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence among men who had received radiation therapy for localized or locally advanced prostate cancer.[2] The results of this study indicated that statin use was associated with a reduced risk of recurrence, as detected by a rise in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels; a reduced risk of needing additional (or “salvage”) androgen deprivation therapy (ADT); and improved relapse-free survival.

The current study evaluated whether or not statin use following treatment of early-stage prostate cancer with radical prostatectomy was associated with a reduced risk of recurrence as detected by a rise in PSA levels. The researchers analyzed database records of 1,319 prostate cancer patients who had undergone a radical prostatectomy. For each patient, their use or nonuse of statins at the time of surgery was determined as well as PSA progression. Of the 1,319 prostate cancer patients analyzed, 236 were taking statins at the time of surgery.  PSA progression occurred in 16% of the statin users and 25% of the nonusers. After adjusting the data for clinical factors that impact cancer recurrence risk, the researchers determined that statin use was associated with a 30% lower risk of PSA recurrence. In addition, the lower risk of PSA recurrence was dependent on the statin dose with statin users at the highest doses experiencing the most benefit.

The researchers concluded that statin use may slow prostate cancer progression among men who have undergone radical prostatectomy. Further studies are warranted to confirm these results.


[1] Hamilton RJ, Banez LL, Aronson WJ, et al. Statin Medication Use and the Risk of Biochemical Recurrence After Radical Prostatectomy: Results From the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) Database. Cancer [early online publication]. June 28, 2010.

[2] Gutt R, Tonlaar N, Kunnavakkam R, et al. Statin use and risk of prostate cancer recurrence in men treated with radiation therapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. April 26, 2010.


Tags: Uncategorized, UNM CC Features