New Delhi: Statins, a type of drug used to lower blood cholesterol, could reduce the risk of a lethal form of prostate cancer in men, a study led by Queen’s University Belfast suggests.
Statins reduce the risk of heart diseases and earlier researches have suggested that they could have a role in slowing down the growth of different types of cancers.
The new study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research Friday, specifically looked at the effect of the drugs on prostate cancer. The researchers — from Queen’s, Trinity College Dublin and Harvard Cancer Center — stated that men who had taken statin had a 24 per cent lower risk of developing a lethal type of prostate cancer.
However, this is limited to the lethal form of the disease only. According to the study, there were no differences in the overall rates of prostate cancer among men who were prescribed the medicine.
A large group of men were monitored over 24 years
“Some prostate cancers are slow-growing and will not affect the man over the course of his lifetime, but others are aggressive and often deadly,” said Emma Allott, a researcher from the Queen’s University Belfast.
“My work is to understand the biology driving these different types of prostate cancer in order to reduce the number of men who develop this lethal form of the disease,” she said.
The researchers monitored a large group of men for 24 years and were able to determine a link between statin use and the prevention of lethal prostate cancer. They studied tissue samples to understand the reason for this effect.
“Although the findings are at an early stage, we were able to see that statin use may affect inflammation and immunity levels in the prostates of some men as well as having an effect on the characteristics of the tumour itself,” said Allot.
“Our findings are in agreement with some of the known biology of statins but are the first to observe these effects in prostate cancer,” she added.