The current evidence on statin use and prostate cancer prevention: are we there yet?

An increasing amount of data supports an inverse association between statin use and cancer risk. The findings for prostate cancer, particularly advanced disease, are the most promising of all cancers studied. Use of these agents seems to also be associated with improved prostate- cancer-specific survival, particularly in men undergoing radiotherapy, suggesting usefulness of statins in secondary and tertiary prevention. Some study results might be influenced by increased PSA screening and health-conscious behaviour in statin users but these factors are unlikely to completely account for observed beneficial effects. The epidemiological evidence is supported by preclinical studies that show that statins directly inhibit prostate cancer development and progression in cell-based and animal-based models. The antineoplastic effect of statins might arise from a number of cholesterol-mediated and non-cholesterol-mediated mechanisms that affect pathways essential for cancer formation and progression. Understanding these mechanisms is instrumental in drug discovery research for the development of future prostate cancer therapeutics, as well as in designing clinical trials to test a role for statins in prostate cancer prevention. Currently, sufficient data are lacking to support the use of statins for the primary prevention of prostate cancer and further research is clearly warranted. Secondary and tertiary prevention trials in men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer might soon be performed.

Nature reviews. Urology. 2016 Oct 25 [Epub ahead of print]

Mahmoud A Alfaqih, Emma H Allott, Robert J Hamilton, Michael R Freeman, Stephen J Freedland

Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Box 2626, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA., Department of Nutrition, CB 7461, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA., Division of Urology, Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Toronto, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada., Division of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, Departments of Surgery and Biomedical Sciences, Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA., Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8635 West 3rd Street, Suite 1070W, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.