NEW YORK, June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to research presented by Dr. David B. Samadi, a prostate cancer treatment, robotic prostatectomy, and prostate surgery expert, at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association men taking statins, a class of widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs, have significantly lower serum PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels than their non statin-using counterparts.
This PSA lowering effect has been demonstrated in previous studies, many of which have also reported decreased biochemical recurrence and decreased aggressiveness of prostate cancer in men who use these medications regularly. Unlike those other reports, however, Dr. Samadi's research found no difference in outcomes, biochemical recurrence, or aggressive disease characteristics between patients taking statin and those who were not.
"We found lower PSA in statin-users, even when comparing patients with similar ages and prostate weights so it's very likely that these drugs directly affect PSA," said Dr. Samadi, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "The most important question that remains is how they achieve this lowering effect. This could be attributed to their anti-inflammatory properties, but it also could be due to the lower cholesterol state that these drugs bring about."
Another question raised by this study is whether men taking statins should now be screened differently, since an artificially-lowered PSA may lead to under-detection and under-diagnosis of prostate cancer in these individuals. Given the fact that statins did not seem to affect biochemical recurrence or aggressive disease, Dr. Samadi considers it unlikely that these medications are sufficient cause for a revision of standards and thresholds of PSA screening.
"More studies need to be done in order to address screening guidelines, and our study, while important, is not the only relevant information out there," explained Dr. Samadi. "More information is needed, specifically regarding dosage levels, specific type of statins used, and large scale, national screening data in order to see what is truly going on in the population as a whole."
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