Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Are Antiepileptic Drugs Linked to Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer?

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021

Teemu J. Murtola, MD, PhD, of Tampere University Hospital, Finland, and colleagues investigated a potential correlation between histone deacetylase–inhibitory antiepileptic drug use and the risk of prostate cancer in Finnish men. Their study, which was published in the International Journal of Cancer, ultimately discovered a decreased risk of prostate cancer in patients on this type of medication, with or without histone deacetylase inhibitors.

“This finding was significant only for low-risk prostate cancer,” commented the investigators. “Nonsignificant risk reduction was found also for high-risk cancer.”

The researchers originally focused on 80,468 men who were receiving antiepileptic drugs, 78,615 of whom were included in the final analysis due to the availability of medication usage data. Demographics such as a family history of prostate cancer, body mass index, age, use of other drugs, and serum prostate-specific antigen levels were obtained through screening and questionnaires.

Among participants, 11.4% utilized antiepileptic drugs. At the median follow-up of 17 years, a total of 9,261 prostate cancers were diagnosed; 713 cases were users of antiepileptic drugs. When compared with patients who were not receiving antiepileptic drugs, those using these agents had a decreased risk of developing low-risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.76–0.96) and high-risk (HR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.64–1.01) prostate cancer, with decreasing intensity of use.

A similar decrease in prostate cancer risk was observed in individuals in receipt of histone deacetylase–inhibitory antiepileptic drugs (HR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.76–1.01). However, there was no significant difference found when comparing them with patients on other antiepileptic drugs (HR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.76–1.27). Demographics such as age, body mass index, and the use of other drugs did not appear to have a significant impact on prostate cancer risk.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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