Statin Drugs May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer in Obese Men

Jun 14, 2009 by

Statin Drugs May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer in Obese Men

Statins are pharmaceutical drugs frequently prescribed to control and lower cholesterol levels. On top of that, they are often pushed as some sort of magical medication which can supposedly benefit health in various ways.

Is that true, or just another propaganda gimmick from the pharmaceutical industry? Well, as far as statins lowering prostate cancer risk is concerned, the following article suggests the opposite may be true.

Statins Raise Prostate Cancer Risk of Obese Men

by Reuben Chow

A study conducted earlier this year at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle found that the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, especially when used long-term, seems to raise the risk of prostate cancer among obese men.

Background

Statin drugs inhibits the enzyme which controls the conversion of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A to mevalonate; mevalonate is an essential precursor of cholesterol. Thus, statins are used extensively to treat high cholesterol.

In some studies, statin drugs have been shown to lower the incidence and mortality rates of cardiovascular disease. This has contributed to the skyrocketing use of statins over the last decade or so.

With specific regard to prostate cancer, the use of statins has also recently raised interest. Without being too technical, it suffices to say that, by inhibiting certain processes and chemicals, statin drugs directly or indirectly influence cell signaling pathways, cell growth, cell apoptosis, cell proliferation, inflammation, oxidative stress, angiogenesis and metastasis. These factors all influence cancer in some way.

Some observational studies had previously shown that statin use lowers prostate cancer risk, while others have not found any connection. In fact, in two studies, statin use was linked to an increase in overall risk of getting prostate cancer. The Fred Hutchinson study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, thus sought to further examine the relationship between statin use and prostate cancer risk.

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