Statin drugs and risk of advanced prostate cancer

Elizabeth A. Platz, Michael F. Leitzmann, Kala Visvanathan, Eric B. Rimm, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, Edward Giovannucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations


Background: Statins are commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs that have proapoptotic and antimetastatic activities that could affect cancer risk or progression. Results from previous epidemiologic studies of the association between statin use and cancer have been inconsistent. We investigated the association of statin use with total and advanced prostate cancer, the latter being the most important endpoint to prevent. Methods: We analyzed data from an ongoing prospective cohort study of 34 989 US male health professionals who were cancer free in 1990 and were followed to 2002. Participants reported their use of cholesterol-lowering drugs on biennial questionnaires. Prostate cancer diagnosis was confirmed by medical record review. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RRs) were estimated from Cox proportional hazards regression models. Statistical tests were two-sided. Results: During 376 939 person-years of follow-up, we ascertained 2579 prostate cancer cases, 316 of which were advanced (regionally invasive, metastatic, or fatal). The age-standardized incidence rates of advanced prostate cancer were 38 and 89 per 100 000 person-years in current statin users and in past or never users, respectively. The multivariable-adjusted relative risk of advanced disease was 0.51 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.30 to 0.86) and of metastatic or fatal disease was 0.39 (95% CI = 0.19 to 0.77) for current statin use compared with no current use. The associations remained after adjusting for prostate-specific antigen screening history (advanced disease: RR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.30 to 1.11; metastatic or fatal disease: RR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.14 to 0.92). Risk of advanced disease was lower with longer statin use (P trend = .003); compared with never use, the relative risk for less than 5 years of use was 0.60 (95% CI = 0.35 to 1.03) and for 5 or more years of use was 0.26 (95% CI = 0.08 to 0.83). We found no association between statin use and risk of total prostate cancer (RR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.85 to 1.09). Conclusions: In this cohort of male health professionals, use of statin drugs was not associated with risk of prostate cancer overall but was associated with a reduced risk of advanced (especially metastatic or fatal) prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1825
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 20 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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