AUA 2012 - Evidence suggests statin use may slow prostate growth - Press Release

ATLANTA, GA USA (PRESS RELEASE) - May 21, 2012 - Statin use among men is associated with a modest reduction in prostate growth, according to a new study at the 107th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

The study was presented to reporters during a special press conference at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA on Monday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m.

Statins are cholesterol-lowering agents with anti-inflammatory and apoptotic (cell self-destruction) properties, and those biologic properties recently have intrigued researchers about their potential effects on the prostate gland. About one in four Americans over 45 years of age take a statin, and almost 50 percent of all men ages 65–74 use this type of medication. Previous research has demonstrated that statins were associated with reduced PSA levels, a molecule that is produced in the prostate and is used as a blood marker of overall prostatic health. This new study sought to investigate whether statin use could also affect prostate growth.

“Statin use among American men is quite common,” said Scott Eggener, MD, Associate Professor, Urologic Oncology, University of Chicago Medicine. “This study adds to our understanding of the role statins may play in driving prostate growth.”

Researchers at several leading institutions in the United States and Canada, including Duke University Medical Center, assessed this hypothesis using data from the REduction by DUtasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial. REDUCE was a four-year randomized study originally designed to test whether dutasteride, a drug that blocks the action of testosterone in the prostate, could reduce the risk of detecting prostate cancer compared to a dummy pill (placebo). Participants in this trial were at an increased risk for developing cancer, and the large dataset that was accrued included assessments of prostate size obtained during transrectal ultrasound-guided prostate biopsies performed at the start of the trial and after 2- and 4-years. Using this data, the researchers tested a new hypothesis that men who were using statins at the start of the trial had lower prostate growth compared to men who were not taking statins at 2- and 4-years. Of the 8,122 participants of the study according to the entry criteria (i.e. men who were between 50-75 years old, had an elevated PSA between 2.5-10 ng/mL, had a prior negative biopsy for prostate cancer, and had a pre-study prostate size smaller than 80cc), over 6,000 had multiple prostate size assessments and were analyzed. The researchers examined the effect of statins on prostate growth separately in the groups that were originally assigned in the REDUCE trial to either dutasteride or placebo.

Results indicate that men who were on statins at the start of the trial had a modest reduction in prostate growth at 2-years after the start of REDUCE trial, which was 5.0% and 3.9% lesser than men who did not take statins among the groups randomly assigned in the original trial to either dutasteride or placebo, respectively. However, when comparing prostate growth from year 2 to year 4, no further reductions in prostate growth were detected between statin users and non-users.

“Additional research is needed to determine the link between statin use and reduced prostate growth,” said Roberto Muller, MD, a research fellow at Duke University. The author also commented that “This study supports that prostate growth is likely affected by other factors besides the previously known, such as age and genetics. If our findings are confirmed on a larger and more widespread scale, it would be also interesting to understand if the effects of statins on prostate growth may also vary according to a specific type of statin or the dosage used,” Muller concluded.

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 18,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.


American Urological Association