Tag Archive | "statin"

Aspirin and Statins May Obscure Prostate Cancer

Most men learn they have prostate cancer after a blood test reveals elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, prompting a biopsy. Medicines that artificially lower PSA levels could, in theory, hide elevations that provide early warnings of possible cancer.

A recent study correlated the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins to lower PSA levels. Researchers examined PSA levels of 1,214 military veterans before and after they started taking a statin. The statins caused a median decline in PSA of 4.1%, and changes in PSA were strongly associated with the statin dose and changes in LDL cholesterol.

Additionally, an unpublished study presented at a meeting of the American Association for reported that men in the Nashville Men’s Health Study who took aspirin regularly had PSA levels that were 9% lower on average than those in men who didn’t take aspirin.

Although the changes in PSA reported in the studies weren’t large, researchers expressed concern that the drugs could disguise fluctuations in PSA and interfere with prostate cancer detection. Although it is also possible that statins and aspirin actually help fight prostate cancer, more and longer-term studies are needed to determine if that is the reason for the PSA decrease.

The study’s authors recommend that you tell your urologist if you are taking aspirin, statins or both so that he or she can better evaluate your risk for prostate cancer.

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Statin Usage may Prevent Post-Operative Prostate Cancer Relapse

A new study published in the journal CANCER by researchers at Duke University and UCLA revealed that men who take statins to lower their cholesterol are also less likely to have their prostate cancer recur after surgery in comparison to men who don’t take statins. Additionally, higher doses of statins were correlated with lower risk of recurrence.

“The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Stephen Freedland, a Duke Prostate Center and the Urology Section member and senior author of the study. “Previous studies have shown that statins have anti-cancer properties, but it’s not entirely clear when it’s best to use them – or even how they work.”

After examining the records of 1319 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy, the researchers found that 18% of the men were taking statins at the time of their surgery. Even taking into account the various clinical and pathological symptoms that differed between the statin and non-statin users, the data showed that statin use reduced the risk of recurrence by 30 percent. However, men who took less than an equivalent dose of 20 mg of simvastatin a day saw no benefit.

“These findings are intriguing, but we do need to approach them with some caution,” said lead author and urologist at the University of Toronto, Robert Hamilton, M.D. “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 were not able to measure. We do feel, however, that based on these findings and those from other studies, the time is ripe to perform a well-controlled randomized trial to test whether statins do indeed slow prostate cancer progression.”

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May 2021
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