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Previously we mentioned that prostrate cancer in young men may be forecasted by genetic markers. Experts from Duke University Medical Center reveal that men who use statins to lower their cholesterol are less likely to see prostate cancer after surgery as compared to men who abstain from using the drug. They also observed that high doses of the drug were linked with lower risk of recurrence.

Experts observed the records of 1319 men who underwent radical prostatectomy. They were also included in the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital database. They identified that 236 men were consuming statins at the time of the surgery. In order to evaluate the recurrence rates experts followed the patients after surgery. This was measured by a slight rise in the PSA levels after surgery; this development is known as biochemical recurrence. This is considered to be important as it is linked with the risk of disease succession and death.

Stephen Freedland, MD, a member of the Duke Prostate Center and the Urology Section at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the senior author of the study shares, “The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer. 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.”

Experts found that 304 men had an augmented PSA; these men included 37 statin users and 267 non-users. Considering clinical and pathological features that varied between the two groups, data revealed that statin lowered the risk of biochemical recurrence by 30 percent. Men consuming statin equivalent to 20 mg of simvastatin per day had reduced recurrence by 43 percent and men consuming more than 20 mg showed a reduction of 50 percent. However men who consumed the drug below 20 mg did not seem to benefit.

Robert Hamilton, MD, an urologist at the University of Toronto and the lead author of the study elucidates, “These findings are intriguing, but we do need to approach them with some caution. For example, we don’t know the diet, exercise or smoking habits of these men. So it’s not entirely clear if the lower risk we detected is related to the statins alone it could be due to other factors we were not able to measure. 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.”

Experts concluded that there were remarkable differences between those who consumed the drug and those who didn’t. They assumed that statin users may be whites, older and heavier than non-users. They had reduced clinical stages at detection but greater Gleason scores that is a measure of tumor aggressiveness.

These findings are published in the journal CANCER.