(HealthDay News) — Statins may slow the progression of prostate cancer in patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.

The researchers performed in vitro studies using prostate cancer cell lines and analyzed statin use in 926 men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer between 1996 and 2007. Of these men, 283 (31%) were taking a statin.

Findings from the in vitro studies showed that statins block uptake of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) by competitively binding to SLCO2B1. 

In their study of men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy, the researchers found that 644 patients (70%) experienced disease progression while receiving treatment after a median follow-up of 5.8 years. Results also indicated that median time to progression was 20.3 months during androgen deprivation therapy.

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Those taking statins, however, had longer median time to progression during treatment than those not taking statins (27.5% vs. 17.4%; P<.001), according to the data. These findings held true even after adjustment for predefined prognostic factors.

The benefit of statins was seen in both patients with and without metastases.

Additionally, the cancer remained stable for an average of 27.5 months before worsening in men taking statins, compared with an average of 17.4 months among those not taking statins.

“These findings are preliminary, so I would not recommend that everybody start on statins to slow prostate cancer,” senior author Philip Kantoff, MD, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, told HealthDay

Also, Kantoff cautioned that these findings apply only to men who have advanced prostate cancer that has relapsed after androgen deprivation therapy

“This does not speak to early-stage prostate cancer or whether statins are beneficial in preventing prostate cancer,” he said.

Patients in the study, conducted from 1996 to 2013, were followed for nearly six years on average.


  1. Harshman LC et al. JAMA Oncol. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.0829.