A common drug used to lower cholesterol levels may have a positive impact on the battle against prostate cancer. Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have found that men who were taking statins while undergoing hormone therapy noticed marked slowing of the disease’s progression versus men who were not taking statins.
The study involved 926 men undergoing hormone therapy. The men who were taking statins during the study were logged as having stable cancer for an average of 27.5 months before worsening occurred. This was compared with an average of 17.4 months among men who were not taking statins during therapy.
While researchers say the study shows promise for the use of statins in slowing the disease’s progression, they warn that men should not run out and start taking cholesterol-controlling medications. There are several reasons for this:
- The study is very preliminary and requires further research to validated
- The men in the study had advanced prostate cancer
- The advanced cases of prostate cancer all involved relapse
Hormone therapy is commonly used in men who have prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland. This therapy has proven helpful because it deprives prostate cancer from its major food source – testosterone. The therapy, however, has a limited life span. once its effectiveness is over, cancer tends to continue to grow again. The statins, however, may increase the effectiveness.
Prostate cancer affects an average of about 220,000 American men annually. An estimated 27,000 men die from the disease each year. The best treatment options for men may include a wide range of options, including prostate seed implants, external beam radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. Men are urged to discuss this condition with their healthcare providers and determine which treatment route makes the most sense for their particular case. While statins may one day prove highly effective in treatment, the jury is still technically out on the matter.