ORLANDO—Statin use is associated with a nearly two thirds reduced risk of death from prostate cancer, a study found.

The finding is based on a study of 760 New Jersey men—380 cases (men aged 55-79 who died from prostate cancer) and 380 controls (men aged 55-79 matched to cases for race and age in five-year categories).

Compared with men who did not use statins, those who did had a 62% decreased risk of dying from prostate cancer, after adjusting for potential confounders, including the use of antihypertensive medication.

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The investigators, Stephen W. Marcella, MD, MPH, and George G. Rhoads, MD, MPH, of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J., noted in a poster presentation that the use of antihypertensive drugs “is a good marker of hypertension, a key feature of the metabolic syndrome that often results in the prescription of a statin for accompanying dyslipidemia. Since the metabolic syndrome has been linked to prostate cancer mortality, controlling for this would be expected to strengthen any protective association with statins.”

In an interview with Renal & Urology News, Dr. Marcella, who is an assistant professor of epidemiology, noted that “it was the most potent statins that had the greatest effect.” Men treated with high-potency statins had a 73% reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer compared with a 31% reduced risk for weak statins. These findings support the view that statins exert a protective effect via the cholesterol-lowering pathway, Dr. Marcella said.

The researchers, who presented their findings here at the 2009 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, identified cases using the New Jersey Vital Statistics and New Jersey Cancer Registry databases and verified prostate cancer deaths using medical record evidence of symptomatic metastasis in men with documented advanced prostate cancer.

They obtained control subjects aged 55-64 years by telephone using randomly dialed numbers and used Medicare recipient claims data to identify controls aged 65-69 years. Researchers reviewed all available medical records.