Statins may stop prostate cancer from spreading

Daily Telegraph 16th April 2014

Statins could curb the spread of prostate cancer by interfering with the ability of tumour cells to invade the bones, research has found.

In laboratory experiments, scientists found that the cholesterol-lowering drugs helped to stop cancer cells changing shape and squeezing into bone marrow.

The same tests highlighted the role of an animal fat compound in attracting prostate cancer to the bones.

Arachidonic acid (AA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid found in meat and fish, concentrates in the marrow and is known to promote the spread of prostate cancer.

Scientists found that cancer cells exposed to AA became rounder and sprouted projections which helped them squeeze through gaps in tissue.

Treating them with statins prevented the change in shape.

Prof. Noel Clarke, of Manchester University, the study leader, said: “Understanding this process will provide vital clues as to how drugs like statins might benefit certain groups of prostate cancer patients who are more at risk of their cancer spreading.”

The findings are published in the British Journal of Cancer. Nell Barrie of Cancer Research UK, which owns the journal, said the discovery could lead to advances in treatment for men with aggressive forms of the disease.