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Study of radiotherapy-treated men links statins with significantly improved outcomes

-- Rick Ansorge

Thursday, April 29, 2010 (Last Updated: 04/30/2010)

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- In men treated with radiotherapy for prostate cancer, statin use is associated with significant improvements in clinical outcomes, including a higher likelihood of relapse-free survival, according to research published online April 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ruchika Gutt, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed 691 men with prostate adenocarcinoma who received radiotherapy between 1988 and 2006, including 189 (27 percent) who used statins during initial consultation or follow-up. They also collected lipid panels in 298 men at a median of five months before the initiation of radiotherapy.

After a median follow-up of 50 months, the researchers found that statin users were significantly more likely than non-statin users to experience freedom from biochemical failure, freedom from salvage androgen deprivation therapy, and relapse-free survival. In addition, statin-associated improvements in freedom from biochemical failure were independent of androgen deprivation therapy use or radiation dose. They also found that improved four-year freedom from biochemical failure was associated with a pretreatment total cholesterol level of less than 187 and a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level of less than 110.

"We wish to congratulate the authors on a novel observation," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "We also wish to encourage additional retrospective analyses adjusting for the factors in this study as well as those mentioned above. Ultimately, however, as the authors clearly state, a prospective randomized study is needed to assure that selection bias does not exist to properly evaluate whether statin use reduces the risk of prostate-specific antigen recurrence and prostate cancer-specific mortality in men undergoing radiation therapy with or without hormone therapy for prostate cancer."

A co-author disclosed financial ties to GenVec.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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