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Cholesterol lowering drugs could halve prostate cancer risk

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Low blood cholesterol may help protect against the deadliest form of prostate cancer, research suggests.

Scientists found that men with cholesterol in the “normal” category were around 60% less likely to develop the most aggressive form of the cancer than men with higher readings - although cholesterol levels themselves were found to have no bearing on the overall prostate cancer risk.

Study leader Dr Elizabeth Platz, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said cholesterol may influence biological signalling pathways that affect cancer cell survival.

Targeting cholesterol metabolism may provide a new treatment route for prostate cancer, the researchers suggest.

In 2005 Dr Platz reported the results of an earlier study showing that men taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs could halve their risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Statin treatment cut the risk of developing aggressive cancers by two thirds, according to the findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The findings of the latest study have been published online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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