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Link Between Prostate Cancer and High Cholesterol - Testosterone and Goldstones Are Both Synthesized from Cholesterol - Italian Research

April 13th 2006

Link Between Prostate Cancer and High Cholesterol - Testosterone and Goldstones Are Both Synthesized from Cholesterol - Italian Research

Cholesterol Test

Italian researchers say they have found a link between high cholesterol and prostate cancer.  According to the co-author, Dr. Cristina Bosetti, “Androgens – hormones that have a role in prostate tissue and cancer – are synthesised from cholesterol, suggesting a possible biological relationship between high cholesterol and prostate cancer. Gallstones are related to high cholesterol levels as well and are often composed of cholesterol. So, the direct relationship we found between gallstones and prostate cancer, while it was not statistically significant, suggests a similar biological mechanism may explain the link."  Androgens are male sex hormones, like testosterone. 

Although an association between prostate cancer and high cholesterol has been suggested, this study published in the on-line (Wednesday 12 April) in Annals of Oncology, shows a statistically significant direct relationship between the two.  The researchers relied on their participant's self-reporting of medical conditions. 


The research team worked on data from a case-control study carried out in four Italian areas between 1991 and 2002, involving 1,294 men under age 75 with prostate cancer and 1,451 matched controls admitted to the same hospitals with acute non-cancerous conditions.

According to the study, all cases and controls were interviewed in hospital by trained interviewers using wide-ranging structured questionnaires. These included a problem-oriented section on patients' medical history covering about 10 non-cancerous conditions, including hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol) and gallstones.

Lead author Dr Francesca Bravi, said: "Although the study relied on participants' self-reported medical conditions, the absence of an association between prostate cancer and about 10 other medical conditions we investigated indicates that the relationship we found between prostate cancer and high cholesterol appears to be a real one."  Brayi is an epidemiologist from the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan.


Francesca went on to say “We found that, after allowing for any potential confounding factors, men with prostate cancer were around 50% more likely to have had high cholesterol levels than our non-prostate cancer controls. The association was somewhat stronger for men whose high cholesterol levels had been diagnosed before they were 50 and for men over 65, where there was an 80% greater likelihood of high cholesterol levels. We also found that prostate cancer patients were 26% more likely to have suffered from gallstones than our controls, with an apparently higher relationship in thinner men. Although that figure was not statistically significant, gallstones are often related to high cholesterol levels. To our knowledge there have been no previous studies reporting any relationship between gallstones and prostate cancer."

Dr Bosetti,  a senior epidemiologist and biostatistician at the same institute, concluded: "There are some laboratory data suggesting statins may have preventive potential against prostate cancer and our results do give an indirect suggestion that statins may help in lowering prostate cancer risk. However, studies to date on cholesterol-lowering statins and prostate cancer have been limited and inconclusive."   

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM