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Statin use and fatal prostate cancer


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Jim Marshall (not a doctor) said …

There is an ongoing controversy about the effectiveness of statins for all people for heart health that I do not intend to go into. Recent ABC Catalyst programs may have alarmed people, and if you are one of these I would suggest you search Google for:

abc catalyst statins

and look at recent criticisms of these programs.

Of course, do not stop taking statins without consulting your doctor. That could put some people at great risk.


But today I am looking at the evidence on statin use and prostate cancer progression.


If your doctor has prescribed a statin for you for your heart, the statin may be making it less likely that you will die from prostate cancer.


In the study below, men taking the high-potency statins had a 73% lower risk of fatal prostate cancer.


 So we know that statins and lower fatal prostate cancer are linked. But we can’t be sure that it is cause and effect - that statins cause lower risk. It might be some other factor that links statins and lower risk - men who took statins might also be more likely to exercise and watch their weight.


So, doctors will not recommend you start statins on this evidence alone. But, if you are taking statins for your heart, you can hope that they are also having an anti-prostate cancer effect.


High-potency statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor®), simvastatin (Zocor®) and rosuvastatin (Crestor®) (though more newly-released Crestor was not tested in this study). Lower-potency statins had about half the effect.


Murtola and colleagues are trying to see if statins do really delay prostate cancer progression. (Search PubMed.com for:

murtola prostate statins)


Statins include Lipitor (atorvastatin) (Best in Murtola study), Lescol (fluvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Altoprev 1release), Livalo (pitavastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin) (Pam's friend). Combination products include: Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release), Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release), and Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe)

… end Jim


Cancer. 2012 Aug 15;118(16):4046-52. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26720. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Statin use and fatal prostate cancer: a matched case-control study.

Marcella SW, David A, Ohman-Strickland PA, Carson J, Rhoads GG.


Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA. marcelsw@umdnj.edu



Statins are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in medical practice, and prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among men. Although there has been no consistent evidence that statins affect cancer incidence, including prostate cancer, several reports suggest they may decrease the rate of advanced prostate cancer. However, no study to date has specifically examined statin use and prostate cancer mortality. The authors conducted this population-based case-control investigation to examine this association.


This was a matched case-control study. Cases were residents of New Jersey ages 55 to 79 years who died from prostate cancer between 1997 and 2000. The cases were matched individually to population-based controls by 5-year age group and race. Medication data were obtained identically for cases and controls from blinded medical chart review. Conditional logistic regression was used to adjust for confounders.


In total, 718 cases were identified, and cooperation was obtained from 77% of their spouses (N = 553). After a review of medical records, 387 men were eligible, and 380 were matched to a control. The unadjusted odds ratio was 0.49 (95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.70) and decreased to 0.37 (P < .0001) after adjusting for education, waist size, body mass index, comorbidities, and antihypertensive medication. There was little difference between lipophilic and hydrophilic statins, but more risk reduction was noted for high-potency statins (73%; P < .0001) compared with low-potency statins (31%; P = .32).


Statin use was associated with substantial protection against prostate cancer death, adding to the epidemiologic evidence for an inhibitory effect on prostate cancer.

Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.

PMID: 22180145

This extract can be found on http://PubMed.com, and is in the public domain.

On PubMed.com there will be a link to the full paper (often $30, sometimes free).


Any highlighting (except the title) is not by the author, but by Jim Marshall.

Jim is not a doctor.

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