A recent clinical study published in the journal Jama Oncology has revealed the potential that statin medications may have in abating the progression of prostate cancer in patients undergoing hormone treatment therapy. Statin medications in the past have broadly been used to lower cholesterol levels. The study suggests however that statin medication used by patients undergoing androgen deprivation therapy can slow the rate at which prostate cancer grows. Hormone therapy is typically used in cases where the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland. This therapy essentially deprives the body of the male hormone testosterone, which has been attributed to the increased growth of prostate cancer cells. The statins help in preventing testosterone entering into cancerous cells by blocking dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), an antecedent of testosterone and basically prevents the cancer cells from developing further. Hormone therapy is at the forefront in treating men with prostate cancer that is hormone-sensitive.
The clinical trial involved 926 men who were undergoing hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer. Participants who were taking statins in conjunction with their hormone therapy showed a stabilization of their cancer for an average of 27.5 months. In contrast to men who weren’t taking statins and only saw 17.5 months of keeping their cancer stable. In addition the researchers also examined the component behind the impact of statin on prostate cancer and noted that a protein called SLCO2B1 helps testosterone an antecedent known as DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) as well as statin medications enter into the cells. Researchers also discovered that statins could hinder the uptake of DHEAS in prostate disease cell lines by controlling the accessible pool of SLCO2B and thusly obstruct the passage of DHEAS in cancer cells. While the results of the study are indeed promising Dr. Philip Kantoff senior author of the study concluded that:
“We present a plausible mechanism by which statins may work in prostate cancer by decreasing the tumor’s available androgen pool and thus improving patient outcomes. Further study is required to validate our findings.”
*The study was conducted jointly between researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Xin Hua Hospital in China. For more information on the study published in Jama Oncology please refer to the link. http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2288665