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Statins May Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

Cholesterol-lowering meds linked to less tumor inflammation, research shows

MONDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cholesterol-lowering statins significantly reduce prostate tumor inflammation, which may help lower the risk of disease progression, new study findings suggest.

Duke University Medical Center researchers found that the use of statins before prostate cancer surgery was associated with a 69 percent reduced likelihood of inflammation inside prostate tumors.

For the study, the researchers examined tissue samples of prostate tumors from 236 men undergoing prostate cancer surgery. The patients included 37 who took statins during the year prior to their surgery.

Overall, 82 percent of the men had inflammatory cells in their prostate tumors and about one-third had marked tumor inflammation. After they accounted for factors such as age, race and body-mass index (a measurement that is based on weight and height), the Duke team concluded that statin use was associated with reduced inflammation within tumors. They also determined that inflammation was more likely among older men with more advanced prostate cancer who'd waited a longer time between prostate biopsy and surgery.

The findings are published in the Feb. 22 online edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"Increasing evidence suggests that statins may reduce risk of prostate cancer progression, and some studies have even suggested that widespread statin use over the past 15 years has contributed to a decline in prostate cancer mortality," lead author Dr. Lionel Banez, an assistant professor of surgery and urology, said in a Duke news release.

But that doesn't mean that all prostate cancer patients should take statins, said study senior author Dr. Stephen Freedland, an associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke Prostate Cancer Center.

"More studies have to be done before such a recommendation can be made. However, men taking statins for heart health may already be enjoying a beneficial side effect against prostate cancer," Freedland said in the news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Feb. 22, 2010

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