Statins, Metformin May Extend Survival in High-risk Prostate Cancer, Large Study Suggests

Statins, Metformin May Extend Survival in High-risk Prostate Cancer, Large Study Suggests
The use of statins — cholesterol-lowering agents to treat cardiovascular disease — alone or in combination with the diabetes treatment metformin, may increase survival in men with high-risk prostate cancer, a study suggests. The study, "Individual and Joint Effects of Metformin and Statins on Mortality among Patients with High-Risk Prostate Cancer," was published in the journal Cancer Medicine. Pre-clinical animal studies have shown an association between the use of metformin and statins, and delayed prostate cancer progression and spread, but research is scarce about the possible connection in humans. It is also unclear which of these two medications, often prescribed together, contributes most to this effect and whether they might be effective in treating high-risk prostate cancer. Therefore, an international team of researchers set out to use data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, linked with Medicare files, to examine the benefits of metformin and statin use among prostate cancer patients. Their analysis included a pool of 12,700 patients with high-risk prostate cancer, including 5,786 who used statins only, 435 who received only metformin, 1,911 who took both medications, and 4,568 who used no such medications. Most patients receiving metformin (81%) were also taking statins. After their cancer diagnosis, statin users lived 3.6 years and metformin-plus-statins users lived 3.9 years, compared with patients on neither medication who lived a median of 3.1 years. Metformin alone did not seem to increase survival, with patients surviving also a median of 3.1 years. Statistical analysis then showed that using statins reduced the risk of death by 11%, while using both treatments reduced that risk by 25%. Both reductions were statis
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