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Is prostate cancer risk reduced by statins?


Is prostate cancer risk reduced by statins? Medication could cut men’s odds of getting the disease, scientists say

  • Statins could cut men’s odds of getting prostate cancer, scientists have found
  • Study suggests greater risk of the cancer among those with raised levels of LPA  
  • Tablets taken by around 8 million Brits reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease


Statins could cut men’s odds of getting prostate cancer because those at greater risk have higher levels of a cholesterol-linked protein.

Unlike many cancers, prostate cancer is hard to prevent by losing weight or drinking less because it is mainly linked to age, ethnicity and genetics.

However, scientists have now found a potential cause which men could do something about.

A study of more than 140,000 men suggests a greater risk of prostate cancer among those with raised levels of lipoprotein A, or LPA – a protein which transports ‘bad’ cholesterol around the body.

Statins, which are taken by around eight million Britons, could cut men’s odds of getting prostate cancer. (Stock image)

Men with a high estimated LPA, based on a genetic test, were found to be more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, and to be diagnosed younger, before the age of 55.

A fifth of men are believed to have high LPA levels. 

Statins, taken by around eight million Britons to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, may reduce LPA as well as cholesterol.

This could help explain previous findings that men who take statins are far less likely to develop prostate cancer.

The study authors caution much more research is needed before men could be advised to take statins to lower their risk of prostate cancer.

New drugs developed in the future, with a stronger effect on LPA, are likely to be more effective, if further studies confirm the protein plays a role in prostate cancer.

Men with a high estimated LPA, based on a genetic test, were found to be more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, and to be diagnosed younger. (Stock image)

Men with a high estimated LPA, based on a genetic test, were found to be more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, and to be diagnosed younger. (Stock image)

The research provides hope, adding to growing evidence on potential causes of prostate cancer, which is diagnosed in around 47,000 men in the UK each year, and kills 11,000.

The Daily Mail is campaigning for improved treatment and diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Dr Kostas Tsilidis, co-author of the Imperial College London study, said checking for high LPA ‘could help identify those men who need more frequent blood tests to look for cancer’.

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