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Article of the Week: Radical prostatectomy – postoperative statin use and risk of biochemical recurrence

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Emma Allott discussing her paper. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Postoperative statin use and risk of biochemical recurrence following radical prostatectomy: results from the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database

Emma H. Allott, PhD 1, 2, 3, Lauren E. Howard, BA 3, 4, Matthew R. Cooperberg, MD 5, Christopher J. Kane, MD 6, William J. Aronson, MD 7, 8, Martha K. Terris, MD 9, 10, Christopher L. Amling, MD 11 and Stephen J. Freedland, MD 1, 3, 12

1 Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, 4 Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, 12 Department of Pathology, Duke University School of Medicine, 2 Cancer Prevention, Detection and Control Program, Duke Cancer Institute, 3 Division of Urology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center Durham, NC, 5 Department of Urology, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, 6 Urology Department, University of California San Diego Health System, San Diego, 7 Urology Section, Department of Surgery, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, 8 Department of Urology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 9 Section of Urology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Augusta, 10 Department of Urology, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, 11 Department of Urology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA


To investigate the effect of statin use after radical prostatectomy (RP) on biochemical recurrence (BCR) in patients with prostate cancer who never received statins before RP.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of 1146 RP patients within the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analyses were used to examine differences in risk of BCR between post-RP statin users vs nonusers. To account for varying start dates and duration of statin use during follow-up, post-RP statin use was treated as a time-dependent variable. In a secondary analysis, models were stratified by race to examine the association of post-RP statin use with BCR among black and non-black men.


After adjusting for clinical and pathological characteristics, post-RP statin use was significantly associated with 36% reduced risk of BCR (hazard ratio [HR] 0.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47–0.87; P = 0.004). Post-RP statin use remained associated with reduced risk of BCR after adjusting for preoperative serum cholesterol levels. In secondary analysis, after stratification by race, this protective association was significant in non-black (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.32–0.75; P = 0.001) but not black men (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.53–1.28; P = 0.384).


In this retrospective cohort of men undergoing RP, post-RP statin use was significantly associated with reduced risk of BCR. Whether the association between post-RP statin use and BCR differs by race requires further study. Given these findings, coupled with other studies suggesting that statins may reduce risk of advanced prostate cancer, randomised controlled trials are warranted to formally test the hypothesis that statins slow prostate cancer progression.

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