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Statins May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence

July 08, 2014

Men who begin taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins after prostate-cancer surgery are less likely to have a recurrence of their cancer, according to an analysis led by Duke Health researchers.

“Our findings suggest that beginning statins after surgery may reduce the risk of prostate cancer recurrence, so it’s not too late to start statins after a diagnosis,” says lead author Emma H. Allott, PhD.

Statins are known to improve heart health, but less is known about how statins affect cancer risk and progression. Previous studies examining the effect of statins on prostate cancer risk and progression have reported mixed results.

The researchers analyzed the medical records of men with prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy. During a median follow-up period of just more than six years, cancer returned in 65 of the 400 men who began taking statins after surgery, and 337 of 746 men who never took statins. Taking into account the demographic and tumor characteristics of patients and the duration of statin use during the follow-up period, the researchers concluded that postoperative statin use was associated with a 36 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence.

In a secondary analysis, this association was found to be significant only among nonblack men. More research is needed to better understand whether the association between statin use and recurrence differs by race.

For more information about the study findings, read our press release, Statin use associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence.

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