According to the study, statins are lowering the PSA levels, but the concern is whether or not this could be hiding or clouding the issues and cancer could be potentially missed in the diagnosis as they are not sure if this is lowering the test numbers or if it is in fact helping in the prevention of prostate cancer growth. Up and coming genomics testing might be of help here soon in this area. BD
DURHAM, N.C. -- Popular cholesterol-busting drugs -- statins -- appear to lower men's PSA values along with their cholesterol levels, according to researchers in the Duke Prostate Center and the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. But whether the drugs prevent prostate cancer growth or just mask it is not known yet. "Previous studies had shown that men taking statins were less likely to develop advanced forms of prostate cancer but no one had looked at the relationship between the drugs and prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, a biomarker that is correlated with cancer growth and is the most common prostate cancer screening tool," said Stephen Freedland, M.D., a urologist at Duke and senior investigator on the study. "Our study represents a move to understand if and how statins influence prostate biology and whether they are really reducing cancer risk, or simply making PSA a less effective screening tool.
"This is important because we had some men who started with PSA levels that looked to be headed in the direction of a recommended biopsy to look for prostate cancer, but they weren't there quite yet," said Robert Hamilton, M.D., a urologist at the University of Toronto, who served as this study's lead investigator while he was a research fellow at Duke. "In a good proportion of these men, the PSA levels declined sufficiently to a point where physicians might not recommend a biopsy, so it's really important that we understand what's at work here, so we can be sure we're not missing cancers because of deceptively low PSA levels."