According to the results of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among men in the United States. Each year, there are approximately 186,000 new diagnoses and more than 28,000 deaths from the disease.

Statins are a widely prescribed type of cholesterol-lowering drug. These drugs have been credited with reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health. Furthermore, some evidence has linked statins with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer.

To explore the effects of statin use on risk of prostate cancer, researchers evaluated information from the Olmsted County Study of Urinary Health Status among Men. In this study, researchers followed 2,447 men—all residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota—for over 15 years.

  • Compared with statin users, non-users of statins were three times more likely to develop prostate cancer.

These results suggest that in addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, statins may also have prostate benefits. The researchers emphasize, however, that these results are preliminary and will need to be confirmed by other studies.

Reference: Breau L et al. Statins may reduce risk of prostate cancer. Presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

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