Can Statins Lower the Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer?
Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020
Use of cholesterol-lowering statins appears to be associated with a reduction in the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer, according to 24 years of data from a large, prospective cohort published in Clinical Cancer Research. This association was particularly striking in men with PTEN-null prostate cancer.
“Although the findings are at an early stage, we were able to see that statin use may affect inflammation and immunity levels in the prostates of some men, as well as having an effect on the characteristics of the tumor itself,” explained Emma H. Allott, PhD, of Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom, in a Queen’s University press release.
The study included 44,126 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free of cancer in 1990; they were followed for prostate cancer incidence through 2014. During the 24 years of follow-up, 6,305 prostate cancers were diagnosed, and 801 (13%) were classified as metastatic (lethal).
Current statin use was inversely associated with the risk of lethal prostate cancer but not overall disease. It appears that long-term statin users had the greatest benefit; men with at least 5 years of statin use had a substantially lower risk of lethal prostate cancer than did those who never used statins. There was a strong inverse association for risk of PTEN-null cancers, but this was not observed in men with PTEN-intact disease.
Additionally, inflammation and immune pathways were enriched in the normal prostates of men who had ever received a statin (n = 10) compared with those who had never used a statin (n = 103). “Our findings are in agreement with some of the known biology of statins but are the first to observe these effects in prostate cancer,” concluded Dr. Allott.
Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit clincancerres.aacrjournals.org.