Sunday, September 14, 2008

Frequent Use of Statins to Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

According to findings of a new study, use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, especially for long-term purpose, appears to raise the risk of prostate cancer among obese men.

According to Dr. Janet L. Stanford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and colleagues, "Given the epidemic of obesity in the U.S. and the frequent use of statins, the positive association we observed raises substantial concern as to the safety of these widely prescribed agents."

In a population-based case-control study, the researchers have matched 1,001 men with prostate cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2005 with 942 age-matched cancer-free controls from King County, Washington. In addition, no overall association was observed between the risk of prostate cancer and the current or past use of statin treatment. Duration of statin use was also not associated with prostate cancer risk.

Stanford said, "We also found no evidence that use of a statin was associated with risk of developing more aggressive subtypes of prostate caner. Overall, we found no support for the current hypothesis that statin use may reduce risk of prostate cancer." She said that these findings warrant further investigation.

Nevertheless, the results do advice a significant increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer associated with current statin use and with longer durations of use among obese men. In addition, current use of a statin was associated with a 50% increase in risk of prostate cancer; and use for five or more years was associated with an 80% increase in risk of the disease; both of these risk estimates were statistically significant.

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