prostate cancer
Carcinoma of prostate Wikimedia Commons

The use of statin drugs may be linked with a modest decrease in prostate volume (PV) growth, researchers have suggested.

According to a study, men who use statin drugs have a lower risk of prostate cancer but only with prolonged use or higher doses.

A history of treatment with the particular type of drugs, the study says, is associated with a 15 per cent reduction in the relative risk of low-grade prostate cancer and a 46 per cent lower risk of developing high-grade diseases. But the link seems to be limited to men who take statins for at least 11 months or have a defined daily dose (DDD) ≥121 mg.

Kai Wang from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and co-author of the study suggested Lipophilic statins (fluvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, and cerivastatin) were more protective against prostate cancer than hydrophilic drugs.

Statins by preventing the liver from making excess cholesterol are often prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood as its elevated levels, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL), causes plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The current study published in Cancer Medicine, however, said that the protective association of statin use with PCa [prostate cancer] risk was in line with in vitro studies and further research was needed to determine whether the association was duration/dose-dependent.

The researchers said risks of both low and high-Gleason grade PCa were found to decrease with increasing cumulative duration and cumulative dose of statin use. The significant PCa risk reduction was observed only when statins had been used for a relatively longer duration.

Stephen Freedland from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who leads a similar study, said that statin drugs use reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young and middle-aged adults, but the benefits were less clear with older adults (above the age of 75 years).

He added that the study contributed to increasing data that "statins may have some benefits, but the benefits are likely modest".