ORLANDO, Fla.—Adding statins to androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) may improve survival among men who experience biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer (PCa) following primary or salvage radiotherapy, according to study findings presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.  

The study, led by Robert J. Hamilton, MD, MPH, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Toronto, included 1,364 men with rising PSA following radiation who were randomly assigned to receive intermittent or continuous ADT. Of these, 585 (43%) used statins. Results showed that statin use was associated with a significant 36% decreased risk of overall and PCa-specific mortality compared with non-use after adjusting for age, PSA level, and time since radiotherapy.

Although statin use decreased the likelihood of progression to castration-resistant disease by 14%, the decline was not statistically significant.

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Statin users generally reported a better quality of life in areas such as physical functioning and social interaction.

“We observed a clear signal that men taking statins, either at the beginning of the trial or during it, fared better than men not taking the medication,” Dr. Hamilton told Renal & Urology News. “This study adds to the growing body of evidence that statin medications may inhibit prostate cancer growth.”

In the group treated with intermittent ADT, statin use was linked with more off-treatment intervals and longer total time off treatment. “This may be a sign that the disease was under better control,” Dr. Hamilton explained. “Less time on androgen deprivation therapy means improved quality of life.”

Still, Dr. Hamilton urges caution when interpreting these results. “The trial was not designed to study the effects of statins, and statin users differ from non-users in many ways.”

He said it is time to conduct a dedicated prospective trial that starts men on statins at the same time as ADT. “However, until such trials are conducted, there is not enough evidence to advocate starting a man on a statin just to improve his prostate cancer outcomes.”