Statins may lower prostate cancer-related mortality risk

November 6, 2013

Patients with prostate cancer who use statins may have a lower risk of death from their disease, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Patients with prostate cancer who use statins may have a lower risk of death from their disease, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Using large population-based databases from the United Kingdom, Canadian researchers assembled a cohort of almost 12,000 men who had been newly-diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer between 1998 and 2009. Within this group of men, the use of statins after prostate cancer diagnosis was associated with a 24% decreased risk in cancer-related mortality.

The men were tracked through 2012, for an average of more than 4 years after their diagnosis. During that time, nearly 3,500 died, and almost 1,800 of those deaths were attributed to prostate cancer.

“We observed duration- as well as dose-response relationships,” study coauthor Laurent Azoulay, from Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, told Formulary.

“Furthermore, in a secondary analysis, we observed that the benefits were greater among men who also used statins before their diagnosis, with more modest yet significant benefits among men who initiated the treatment after their diagnosis,” said Dr Azoulay. “The latter result is one of the novelties of this study, as it provides an estimate of the potential benefits of statins, if used in the adjuvant setting.”

Researchers noted that they did not show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between statins taken by many to prevent heart disease and a lower death risk from prostate cancer.

“The results of this study are promising, and if confirmed in other well-conducted observational studies and clinical trials, statins may be considered as a prostate cancer treatment,” Dr Azoulay said. “However, for the time being, statins should be reserved for men who need to control their cholesterol levels and not for the sole purpose of improving prostate cancer prognosis. Additional studies are needed before adding prostate cancer as a new statin indication.”