A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
found men who took statins to lower their cholesterol before prostate cancer surgery had significantly lower inflammation within prostate tumors. Inflammation within tumors has been associated with cancer progression and more aggressive tumor growth, researchers said.
"We found that preoperative statin use was associated with a 69 percent lower risk of intra-tumoral inflammation," said Dr. Lionel Baņez, an assistant professor of surgery and urology 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 Duke researchers examined tissue samples of tumors from 236 men undergoing surgery for prostate cancer
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 37 patients (16 percent) took statins
during the year prior to their prostate surgeries. Most of the statin users (92 percent) were on simvastatin (ZocorŪ). Among all patients, 82 percent 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. Older patients with more advanced cancers were most likely to have tumor inflammation and have the longest times from biopsy to surgery.