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Statins may help to prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer in men who undergo surgery for the disease, according to new research.
A US study found men who took the cholesterol-lowering drugs were 30% less likely to see the disease return, in comparison to those who did not use them.
Researchers found higher doses of the drug were linked with a lower risk of showing signs of cancer re-growth.
Earlier research had already suggested that statins can fight prostate cancer.
Study leader Dr Stephen Freedland, from Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, US, said: “The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer.
“Previous studies have shown that statins have anti-cancer properties, but it’s not entirely clear when it’s best to use them – or even how they work.”
The research was published in the journal Cancer.
Duke scientists examined the records of 1,319 men who had their prostate glands removed, 236 of whom were taking statins at the time of their surgery.
Overall, taking statins reduced the risk of biochemical recurrence – signified by rising prostate specific antigen – by 30%.
For men taking a dose equivalent to 20 milligrams of simvastatin a day, recurrence risk was reduced by 43%. Simvastatin is one of the most widely used statin drugs.
Copyright Press Association 2010