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23 May 2012
Prostate enlargement responds to statin treatment
by George Atkinson

Statins, the drugs used to treat high cholesterol, may also work to slow prostate growth, according to an analysis from Duke University Medical Center. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

Previously, Duke researchers had found a link between statins and lower levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate that is often elevated by cancer or other prostatic diseases. In the new finding, prostatic growth rate diminished among men with elevated PSA levels who took statins.

An enlarged prostate,known as benign prostate hyperplasia, causes urinary problems that can escalate to bladder and kidney damage. Up to 90 percent of men over the age of 70 have some symptoms associated with enlarged prostate.

"Given that prostate enlargement is an important health problem in the United States and elsewhere, and will be a larger problem as the population ages, it's important to understand and treat its causes," said Roberto Muller, lead author of the study.

Muller said that when changes in prostate growth were compared after the start of the trial, men who took a statin drug had less prostate growth. Those reductions, however, did not persist after two years.

"We don't yet understand the mechanisms that might be causing this," Muller said. "Some have suggested that statins may have anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation has been linked to prostate growth, but this needs further study." He added that the findings also suggest that lifestyle choices such diet and exercise may not only affect cholesterol, but also prostate health.

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Source: Duke University Medical Center

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