Prostate Cancer: Statins Linked to Lower Risk of Fatal Outcomes
Men with fatal prostate cancer may have had a lower risk of dying if they had taken cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, research shows. According to Reuters Health, statins aren’t directly tied to fighting cancer, but the observed link suggests that lowering cholesterol could help reduce the overall risk of fatal disease.
“People may be on these medications for their heart, but it may actually be doing them some good for their prostate,” explained study author Stephen Marcella of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “If a person’s on the fence about taking a statin medication for their heart, this is another potential benefit they may have by taking one of these.”
Marcella’s team reached their findings by observing the medical records of 380 men who had died of prostate cancer compared with another comparable group of 380 without any form of life-threatening cancer. About one in four of the men in both groups combined had taken statins, Reuters said. However, the men who died from prostate cancer were only half as likely to take statins at any time—and for any duration of time—than men who did not have potentially fatal cancer.
Even when controlling for health complications and other medications, those with fatal prostate cancer were 63 percent less likely to have ever taken a statin.
There is not enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the relationship between statins and prostate cancer yet, however.
“I would not tell a person if they don’t have a risk of heart disease, [if] they don’t have hypertension…to take a statin just to prevent lethal prostate cancer,” Marcella said.
There is also no evidence suggesting that statin use would lower the risk of the most aggressive forms of the disease, Reuters said.