Men who take statins may have a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer (PCa), new findings suggest.

Researchers conducted a population-based case-control study that included 380 New Jersey residents aged 55-79 years who died from PCa between 1997 and 2000 and 380 population-based controls matched by five-year age groups and race. After adjusting for education level, waist size, body mass index, comorbidities and antihypertensive medication use, statin users had a 63% decreased risk of PCa-related death compared with controls, a team led by Stephen W. Marcella, MD, MPH, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway, reported online in Cancer.

Dr. Marcella and his colleagues observed no difference in protective effect between lipophilic and hydrophilic statins, but high-potency statins had a larger protective effect than low-potency statins. Compared with controls, those taking high-potency statins had a 73% decreased risk of PCa-related death.

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The new study adds to the epidemiologic evidence of an inhibitory effect of statins on PCa, the investigators noted.

“In view of the good safety record of this class of drugs and the shared risk factors for cardiovascular disease and aggressive prostate cancer,” the authors concluded, “we believe that it is now time to directly test the value of statins for inhibiting progression of prostate cancer in a randomized clinical trial.”