In a new study, researchers found that men who are on statins, a medicine used to lower blood cholesterol, may have a reduced risk of developing a more lethal form of prostate cancer.
The research was led by Queen’s University Belfast and elsewhere.
Statins are drugs that are often used to help lower cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
Previous studies have found that statins could have a role in slowing down the growth of different types of cancers.
This research specifically looked at ways statins might affect prostate cancer.
In the study, the researchers examined a large group of men who had been monitored for 24 years.
They discovered that there were no differences in the overall rates of prostate cancer among men who were prescribed statins.
However, men who had taken statin medicines had a 24% reduced risk of developing a more lethal type of prostate cancer when compared to men who were not.
The team says that some prostate cancers are slow-growing and will not affect the man over the course of his lifetime, but others are aggressive and often deadly.
This work is to understand the biology driving these different types of prostate cancer in order to reduce the number of men who develop this lethal form of the disease.
They were able to see the link between statin use and the prevention of lethal prostate cancer.
They were able to see that statin use may affect inflammation and immunity levels in the prostates of some men as well as having an effect on the characteristics of the tumor itself.
While the researchers are not recommending that men start taking statins unless prescribed to do so, this study shows future work needs to see how statins could be used to combat aggressive prostate cancer.
The lead author of the study is Dr Emma Allott from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.
The study is published in Clinical Cancer Research.
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