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Finnish study: Cholesterol medication could slow prostate cancer

Initially it was feared by the medical community that cholesterol medications might worsen cancer, but new research from Tampere reveals the opposite.

lääkepurkki ja pillereitä pöydällä
Image: AOP

A common cholesterol medication may help in the treatment of the most common form of cancer among men, according to a study carried out in Tampere and published in the peer-reviewed European Urology journal in late June.

The medicine used was atorvastatin, which according to the research group director, professor Teemu Murtola, is one of the most commonly used cholesterol medications.

The study is based on findings from 158 men, who participated in the study and underwent prostate removal surgery at the Tampere University Hospital in Finland. All the participants used the research medication, atorvastatin, before the operation for an average of 27 days before their surgery.

Prostate cancer cell activity was measured by examining the tissue protein, which only appears in actively dividing cells, of the 158 removed prostates.

According to the research results, taking cholesterol medication for a longer period of time could slow down the growth of prostate cancer. The medicine was used by all 158 participants for at least 27 days before surgery and the prostate cancer in all men slowed down, regardless of how aggressive it was. None of the men participating in the study had previously taken cholesterol medication.

”The findings are significant as prostate cancer is the leading cancer for men in Finland. Annually, about 5,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 800 men die from it,” says Murtola.

Professor Murtola says this was the first study of its type in the world. The results were published in the peer-reviewed European Urology journal in June.

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