Sperling Prostate Center

Statins and Prostate Cancer: An Update

Last December I posted a blog entry on the possibility that statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, can reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). If you’re interested, I summarized the relationship between how statins control cholesterol and scientific theories about the connection with PCa; you can read it at https://sperlingprostatecenter.com/statins-prostate-cancer/.
I try to keep informed on updated information on this topic. I was happy to come across a new large scale study/analysis from a collaborative Harvard-Vanderbilt University team with modestly encouraging results. I especially like this study because it includes a large percentage of black men, unlike many other studies that primarily include whites.

The authors enrolled 32,091 men (ages 40-79 at the time of enrollment). Sixty-seven percent of them were black. Within 8 years of the study’s beginning, 570 men were diagnosed with PCa, divided into 324 low-grade PCa (Gleason < 3+4) and high-grade PCa (Gleason > 4+3). Those who reported taking statins at the time of enrollment were:
• 10% black patients
• 22% white patients.
Compared with patients who did not use statins, those who took the drugs had an overall 14% lower risk of PCa, which was not statistically significant. According to the authors, this association was stronger for those with high-grade PCa, and was the same risk reduction whether the men were white or black. The team concluded that there was “no strong association between statin use [and prostate cancer] overall,” but if the tendency toward a small degree of risk protection exists, it would be the same regardless of race/ethnicity, and “may be restricted to high-grade tumors…”

More research will need to be done to explore whether statins play a beneficial role regarding prostate cancer. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that statins increase longevity for those whose high levels of cholesterol put them at risk for cardiovascular disease.


i Kantor ED, Lipworth L, Fowke JH et al. Statin use and risk of prostate cancer: Results from the Southern Community Cohort Study. Prostate. 2015 May 27. doi: 10.1002/pros.23019. [Epub ahead of print]

About Dr. Dan Sperling

Dan Sperling, MD, DABR, is a board certified radiologist who is globally recognized as a leader in multiparametric MRI for the detection and diagnosis of a range of disease conditions. As Medical Director of the Sperling Prostate Center, Sperling Medical Group and Sperling Neurosurgery Associates, he and his team are on the leading edge of significant change in medical practice. He is the co-author of the new patient book Redefining Prostate Cancer, and is a contributing author on over 25 published studies. For more information, contact the Sperling Prostate Center.

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