Statins - cholesterol-lowering drugs - might be a contributory factor in preventing the return of prostate cancer in men who have undergone surgery, states a new study.
The study suggests that patients who took statins were 30 per cent less likely to suffer an evident relapse than those who did not.
AdvertisementHigher doses of the drugs were associated with a lower risk of showing signs of cancer re-growth.
"The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer," the Scotsman quoted Dr Stephen Freedland, from Duke University Medical Centre as saying.
Study author Dr Robert Hamilton, from the University of Toronto, said: "These findings are intriguing, but we do need to approach them with some caution."
"For example, we don't know the diet, exercise or smoking habits of these men. So it's not entirely clear if the lower risk we detected is related to the statins alone - it could be due to other factors we could not measure.
"But we do feel that, based on these findings and those from other studies, the time is right to perform a well-controlled randomised trial to test whether statins do indeed slow prostate cancer progression," he added.
"There are still many questions about the use of statins, and researchers and doctors must be cautious in linking low levels of PSA in men taking statins with the belief that cancer has not returned. It could be that while statins are effective in reducing PSA levels, they may have little effect on whether pro-state cancer is likely to return" said Dr Kate Holmes, research manager at the Prostate Cancer Charity.
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