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Statins help "cut prostate cancer relapse"

Prostate cancer sufferers who undergo surgery are less likely to suffer a relapse of the disease if they take cholesterol-lowering drugs, a new study has claimed.

US researchers told the journal Cancer that men treated with statins are 30% less likely to have an apparent relapse than those who are not. An earlier report had suggested statins can fight prostate cancer.

Scientists from Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, looked at the records of 1,319 men who had their prostate glands removed, with 236 of them taking statins at the time of their procedure. Taking statins was found to cut the risk of biochemical recurrence - signified by rising prostate specific antigen - by 30%.

For sufferers taking a 20 mg daily dose of simvastatin, one of the most commonly used statin drugs, the risk of relapse was reduced by about 43%.

Study leader, Dr Stephen Freedland, said: "The findings add another layer of evidence suggesting that statins may have an important role in slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer. Previous studies have shown that statins have anti-cancer properties, but it's not entirely clear when it's best to use them - or even how they work."

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