Urologists and researchers have postulated in recent years that statin medications could have an impact on the growth and progression of prostate cancer. Cholesterol is a primary building block for testosterone, which has in turn been linked with prostate tumor growth (less testosterone results in slower-growing tumors). In recent years, research has indicated a possible link between dietary fat intake and prostate cancer.
Research presented at the 102nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association explores the effect statin medications (which work to reduce low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, levels) may have on prostate-specific antigen, the incidence of prostate cancer, and mortality due to prostate cancer.
Exploring Causes For Declining Prostate Cancer Mortality Rates In The United States Between 1993 And 2003
Researchers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, sought to compare declining prostate cancer mortality rates with the independent epidemiological variables including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, insurance coverage, obesity, diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol levels). Results of the study showed a direct correlation between prostate-cancer mortality rates with hyperlipidemia and PSA screening in white men, and health insurance coverage in black men. The link between high cholesterol and declining mortality was unexpected, and researchers attribute this relationship to the increased use of statin medications to treat high cholesterol.
The Influence Of Statin Medications On Prostate-specific Antigen Levels In Healthy Men
High levels of LDL cholesterol have been associated with a variety of health concerns, including heart disease and, most recently, prostate cancer. As more men are prescribed statin medications to lower levels of "bad" cholesterol, prostate cancer growth has been shown to slow due to decreased levels of testosterone. Researchers from Duke University and Johns Hopkins University have explored whether statin medications affect not only prostate cancer growth, but also prostate-specific antigen levels in healthy men thereby posing a risk of not detecting the disease early.
The team examined 1,545 men who had been prescribed a statin between 1990 and 2006 at the Durham VA Medical Center. The men had a mean age of 60.1, median PSA of 0.92 ng/ml and mean pre-statin LDL level of 152 mg/dl. PSA changes were strongly linked with LDL changes; PSA levels declined by 1.1 percent for every 10 mg/dl decrease in LDL. Results suggest that statins influence prostate biology -- a factor that should be explored further to examine the significance that statin medications may have on prostate cancer detection.
Statins And Prostate Cancer Among Men Participating In The Finnish Prostate Cancer Screening Trial
Reviewing PSA levels among statin users screened in the Finnish Prostate Cancer Screening Trial, researchers from Helsinki found a decrease in prostate cancer incidence in this group, compared to those who did not take the drugs. A significant decrease was found in the incidence of T3 cancers and thos with a Gleason score ranging 5-6. Researchers also found lower serum PSA levels and free/total PSA ratios in this population.
Non-statin, lipid-lowering drugs were not associated with incidence, stage or grade.
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