Sep 23, 2011 - 12:16 pm
I was reading an old thread regarding PSA testing here -- "Another View On PSA Testing" -- which reminded me that certain drugs can affect PSA test results.
So, I did a simple Google search for two of the drugs that I take daily (and their possible effects on PSA) -- aspirin and a statin to prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol, respectively -- and I suspect that many other men w/PCa also take these drugs.
Lo and behold, this is what I found:
"Statins, Aspriin May Hide Prostate Cancer."
Originally published September 2010; last reviewed March 16, 2011 in "Harvard Medical School + Harvard Health Publications, Prostate Knowledge."
The text of the article follows below.
"Most men learn that they have prostate cancer after a blood test shows elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, prompting a biopsy. A high or rising PSA can also signal the return of cancer following surgery or radiation therapy. Drugs that artificially lower PSA levels could, at least in theory, obscure elevations that offer early warnings of a problem.
One recent study linked the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins to reduced PSA levels. Researchers looked at PSA levels among 1,214 military veterans before and after they started taking a statin. With statins, the median decline in PSA was 4.1%, and changes in PSA were strongly associated with the statin dose and changes in LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.
In another study, presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research last fall, Vanderbilt University researchers reported that participants in the Nashville Men’s Health Study who regularly took aspirin had PSA levels that were 9% lower on average than those in men who didn’t take aspirin. (Data from this trial have not yet been published in a scientific or medical journal.)
The changes in PSA in these studies weren’t large. But researchers expressed concern that the drugs could mask fluctuations in PSA that might interfere with the detection of prostate cancer. Another tantalizing possibility is that statins and aspirin fight prostate cancer. But it would take some very large, very long trials to determine if that is the reason for the decrease in PSA.
Given these findings, make sure to tell your urologist if you are taking statins, aspirin, or both. Also, track changes in your PSA over time to help ensure you aren’t harboring prostate cancer.
SOURCE: Hamilton RJ, Goldberg KC, Platz EA, Freedland SJ. The Influence of Statin Medications on Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2008;100:1511–18. PMID: 18957682"
If this is correct, I and many men who commonly take these drugs may actually have higher PSA scores than measured and, in my case, this makes my higher post-CK treatment PSA level an even greater cause for concern -- unless, of course, the suggestion that statins & aspirin may actually "cure" PCa has validity.
It would be SO nice to have a better measure of PCa than PSA but it's all we have for the time being and we all have to live with it's inaccuracies and contradictions.
Oh well . .