A new analysis has found that men with prostate cancer who have undergone prostatectomy and are taking statins have a lower risk of recurrence.
The study, now available online in Cancer, included 1,319 men treated with radical prostatectomy from the large multicenter, multi-ethnic Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) Database; 236 of the men (18%) were taking statins at the time of their surgery. Statin users were followed for an average of 24 months; non-statin users were followed for an average of 38 months.
Overall, patients who were taking statins had a 30% lower risk of PSA recurrence compared with non-statin users, and the reduced risks were dose dependent—i.e., the higher the dose, the less likely cancer was to recur.
For example, those taking the equivalent of simvastin at a dose of 20 mg had a 43% reduced risk of recurrence, and patients taking the equivalent of simvastin at a higher dose had a 50% reduced risk.
“These findings provide even more rationale for testing the role of statins to delay prostate cancer progression,” the study's senior author, Stephen Freedland, MD, of the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University Medical Center, said in a news release. “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.”
Lead author Robert J. Hamilton, MD, MPH, also of the Duke Prostate Center, cautioned, though, that there are still some limitations in that, for example, the diet, exercise, and smoking habits of the men were not known—“So it's not entirely clear if the lower risk we detected is related to the statins aloneit could be due to other factors we were not able to measure,” he said.
“We do feel, however, that based on these findings and those from other studies, the time is ripe to perform a well-controlled randomized trial to test whether statins do indeed slow prostate cancer progression.”
The study was funded by the Department of Defense, Prostate Cancer Research Program; the Department of Veterans Affairs, the NIH, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, and the American Urological Association Foundation/Astellas Rising Star in Urology Award.