More data link statins to lower prostate cancer risk; benefits limited to longer duration of treatment

A retrospective cohort study showed that men who used statin drugs had a lower risk of prostate cancer but only with prolonged use or higher doses.

Men who had a history of treatment with statins was associated with a 15% reduction in the relative risk of low-grade prostate cancer and a 46% lower risk of developing high-grade disease. The association, however, was limited to men who took statins for at least 11 months or who had a specific defined daily dose of ≥121. This number is based on a reference dose of 20-mg simvastatin.

According to a report, lipophilic statins appeared to be more protective against prostate cancer than did hydrophilic drugs.

Researchers believe that mechanistically, statins have been found to reduce intracellular and serum cholesterol, and therefore may affect cell membrane organogenesis, steroidogenesis, and proliferation. Growth inhibition in prostate-derived cells lines was observed at clinically relevant statin concentrations.

This study adds to numerous others that preceded it, which collectively showed that statin use is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. The cumulative data does suggest only a modest effect on prostate cancer diagnosis.

Statins and Prostate Cancer

Over the past 15 years, statin use has increased dramatically, and as a class, the drugs are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. It is thought that lowering serum and tissue levels of cholesterol may disrupt cellular lipid rafts, leading to reduced raft-dependent signaling and cell proliferation. And by extension, statins may have chemopreventive effects that reduce carcinogenesis, including prostate cancer carcinogenesis.

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