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25-10-2016 | Genitourinary cancers | Article

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

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


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.

​​​​​​​Nat Rev Urol 2017; 14: 107–119. doi:10.1038/nrurol.2016.199


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