Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Does Warfarin Exposure Decrease the Risk for Prostate Cancer?

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Monday, February 1, 2021

Therapeutic intervention with warfarin may positively benefit male patients by decreasing their risk for prostate carcinoma, according to a case-control study published in Frontiers in Oncology. However, these findings could be due to the bias associated with reduced biopsy rates of patients who have been treated with warfarin long term, explained Kerri Beckmann, PhD, of the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kings College, London, and colleagues.

“Further studies addressing the association between warfarin use and prostate cancer risk should also include data on prostate-specific antigen testing and prostate biopsies among men on anticoagulants,” the investigators noted.

From 2014 to 2016, a total of 31,591 patients receiving warfarin (n = 18,522) or direct oral anticoagulants (n = 4,455) were recruited from the population-based Prostate Cancer database of Sweden. All patients were matched with five patients not receiving anticoagulant therapy, for a total of 156,802 control patients. The risk of prostate cancer development was compared between medication-treated and nontreated individuals.

The study findings revealed an overall decreased risk of prostate carcinoma in patients receiving warfarin therapy (odds ratio = 0.92). These findings were identified for the risk for unfavorable prostate carcinoma, defined as high risk, locally advanced, or distant metastatic. However, this association of decreased risk was not established for favorable prostate carcinoma, defined as low or intermediate risk. Contrastingly, there was an increased risk for favorable (low- or intermediate-risk) carcinoma in patients who received their initial warfarin treatment during the 12-month period prior to their diagnosis (odds ratio = 1.39). In addition, there seemed to be no association between patients receiving direct oral anticoagulants and the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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