Statins Inhibit Inflammation Within Prostate Tumors

Feb 18, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Patients with prostate cancer who regularly use statins to lower their cholesterol may be enjoying a secondary benefit from the drugs: A new study from Duke University Medical Center shows that statins significantly lower the degree of inflammation within prostate tumors. The response may, in part, explain why men on statins have a lower risk of disease progression.

Previous studies have shown that reduce systemic , but the Duke researchers were interested in finding out if the drugs reduced inflammation inside tumors, so-called intra-tumoral inflammation, that is believed to contribute to cancer recurrence after surgery.

“We found that preoperative statin use was associated with a 69 percent lower risk of intra-tumoral inflammation," said Lionel Bañez, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery and at Duke and the lead author of the study. "We also discovered a trend suggesting greater risk-reduction with higher doses of the drugs.”

The study appears online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers examined tissue samples of tumors from 236 men undergoing surgery for at the Durham VA Medical Center. Researchers identified the samples as coming from statin-users or non-users, tracked the dose and frequency among the users, and graded the degree of inflammation in the tissue samples as absent, mild, or marked.

They found that 16 percent of the patients (37) took statins during the year prior to surgery. Most (92 percent) were on simvastatin. Eighty-two percent of the patients had inflammatory cells in their prostate tumors, with roughly one-third registering marked tumor inflammation.

After taking into consideration factors such as age, race, body mass index and other clinical variables, investigators found that statin use was associated with reduced inflammation within the tumors. They also found that inflammation was more likely among older patients with more advanced cancers and who had experienced a longer time from biopsy to surgery.

“Increasing evidence suggests that statins may reduce risk of prostate cancer progression, and some studies have even suggested that widespread statin use over the past 15 year has contributed to a decline in prostate cancer mortality,” says Bañez.

So should all prostate cancer patients be on a statin? “No -- or at least not yet.” says Stephen Freedland, M.D., associate professor of urology and pathology in the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University and the senior author of the study. “More studies have to be done before such a recommendation can be made. However, men taking statins for heart health may already be enjoying a beneficial side effect against prostate cancer.”

“If these findings are validated in additional studies, it would support the hypothesis that statins delay prostate cancer progression, in part, by reducing inflammation inside the tumor,” Bañez said.

Explore further: Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Statins alter prostate cancer patients' PSA levels

Apr 28, 2009

Beyond lowering cholesterol, statin medications have been found to have numerous other health benefits, including lowering a healthy man's risk of developing advanced prostate cancer, as well as lowering his prostate-specific ...

Recommended for you

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

1 hour ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

1 hour ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility

13 hours ago

Cancer cells are gluttons. We have long known that they monopolize large amounts of sugar. More recently, it became clear that some tumor cells are also characterized by a series of features such as mobility or unlikeliness ...

User comments : 0