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Study: Statins May Reduce Risk of Death From Prostate Cancer

Researchers eye intervention trial (May 1)

Men with prostate cancer who take statins to lower cholesterol are significantly less likely to die from their cancer than men who don’t take such medication, according to a study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. The new findings were published online in The Prostate.

The study, led by Janet L. Stanford, PhD, followed approximately 1,000 Seattle-area prostate cancer patients. About 30% of the study participants reported using statin drugs to control their cholesterol.

After a mean follow-up period of almost 8 years, the researchers found that the risk of death from prostate cancer among statin users was 1% compared with 5% among nonusers.

“If the results of our study are validated in other patient cohorts with extended follow-up for cause-specific death, an intervention trial of statin drugs in prostate cancer patients may be justified,” Stanford said.

The new study is unique in that most prior research of the effect of statin use on prostate cancer outcomes has focused on biochemical recurrence — a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level — and not on prostate cancer-specific mortality.

“Very few studies of statin use in relation to death from prostate cancer have been conducted, possibly because such analyses require much longer follow-up for the assessment of this prostate cancer outcome,” said primary author Milan S. Geybels, MSc.

Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; May 1, 2013.

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