May 4, 2009

Statins alter prostate cancer PSA levels

U.S. medical scientists say they've discovered statins can lower a man's prostate-specific antigen levels, thereby masking the spread of prostate cancer.

Henry Ford Hospital research in Detroit note statins are used to lower cholesterol levels and have been found to have numerous other health benefits, including lowering a healthy man's risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

We found that PSA levels are actually significantly lower in prostate cancer patients on statins versus prostate cancer patients not on statins, said Dr. Piyush Agarwal, an urologist at Henry Ford Hospital who was the study lead author. The implication is that we may need to lower our PSA threshold for performing a biopsy in patients on statins, as statins may decrease the amount of measurable PSA.

Previous studies have shown statins can lower absolute PSA levels in healthy men. Until now, however, there have been no studies that looked at the effect of statins on patients with prostate cancer.

Agarwal and his colleagues presented their research last week in Chicago during the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.