Men who take a certain class of cholesterol-lowering medicine, otherwise known as statins, may be 60% less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer. Some of the results of this powerful study involving more than 55,000 men were discussed at the Prostate Cancer Research Program?s (PCRP?s) Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, Fla.?a gathering of some of the nation?s most prestigious scientists and clinicians in prostate cancer research.

The Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) is the second-largest funder of prostate cancer research in the U.S. The program brings together prestigious prostate cancer researchers, survivors, and policy makers to tackle research challenges and offer hope to the millions of people affected directly and indirectly by prostate cancer. The IMPaCT conference represents an unparalleled collaboration between the research community and prostate cancer survivors and advocates?making PCRP successful in identifying innovative research that tackles prostate cancer’s most critical issues.

?The findings provide hope for the more than 200,000 men in the United States diagnosed with prostate cancer annually,? said Navy Captain Melissa Kaime, MD, Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), in which the PCRP resides. ?This may represent a significant step in the process leading up to the development of a new product for prostate cancer prevention.?

Using electronic and administrative files from the Veteran Affairs New England Healthcare System, investigators identified 55,875 men taking either a statin or antihypertensive medication? a drug that reduces high blood pressure. The dataset included men at various levels of risk for prostate cancer.

Results of the study showed that, compared to men taking an antihypertensive medication, statin users were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Furthermore, statin users were 13% less likely to be diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer and 60% less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer. Total cholesterol was also found to predict both total and high-grade prostate cancer incidence, but not low-grade prostate cancer incidence.

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?Although prostate cancer is commonly diagnosed, few risk factors for high-grade prostate cancer are known and few prevention strategies exist,? said Wildon Farwell, MD, Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. ?Learning more about the relationship between statins and prostate cancer may provide important clues into the basic biology of prostate cancer.?

Researchers concluded that statin use may significantly reduce the risk for total and high-grade prostate cancer, and increased levels of serum cholesterol are associated with higher risk for total and high-grade prostate cancer. ?We are now sure that clinical trials of statins for prostate cancer prevention are warranted,? said Dr. Farwell.

In addition to this study, the IMPaCT conference provides a broad overview of the field of prostate cancer research, while highlighting the ground-breaking contributions that PCRP-funded investigators have made. The PCRP, which funded this study, is committed to conquering prostate cancer. This important study is just one example of the impact that the PCRP is making in translating innovative science into clinical therapies.

The study, ?Are Statins Associated with Decreased Risk for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Grade?,? was conducted by Wildon Farwell, Leonard D’Avolio, Richard Scranton, Elizabeth Lawler, and J. Michael Gaziano from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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