Statins have anticancer effects on prostate cancer both in vitro and in vivo. It is unclear whether this is due to systemic cholesterol-lowering or direct local growth inhibition in the prostate. It is also unclear whether statins can access the prostate; lipophilic statins could, in theory, pass lipid-enriched cell membranes by passive diffusion. However, statin concentrations in the human prostate have not been measured before.

The study population was based on a randomized clinical trial where 158 men with prostate cancer were randomized to use 80 mg atorvastatin (ATV) or placebo daily for a median of 27 days before radical prostatectomy. ATV and atorvastatin lactone (ATV-Lactone) concentrations in the plasma and in the prostate were measured with mass spectrometry in men randomized to the ATV arm. Linear trends between intraprostatic concentration and plasma concentration, body mass index, age, and duration of intervention were examined. The relative tissue concentrations of ATV and ATV-Lactone were calculated in prostatic tissue and plasma to evaluate drug homeostasis. Subgroup analyses were stratified by tumor and population characteristics.

The analysis involved a total of 55 men. When limited to men whose tissue concentrations of ATV was measurable (n = 28, 50%), median ATV concentration was 212% higher in the tissue (median concentration 17.6 ng/g) compared to the plasma (median concentration 3.6 ng/mL). Also, ATV-L concentration was 590% higher in the tissue as compared to the plasma concentration. No statistically significant linear trends between the plasma and tissue concentrations were observed. When comparing the relative concentration of atorvastatin lactone over ATV, the concentrations were in balance in the plasma, In the prostate, however, the relative concentration of atorvastatin lactone was 57% lower compared to ATV (P = .009 for the difference between prostate tissue and plasma). No effect modification by tumor or population characteristics was observed.

Measurable ATV concentrations in the prostate support ATV’s ability to access the prostate from the circulation. ATV may accumulate in the prostate as intraprostatic concentrations are elevated compared to the plasma concentration.

The Prostate. 2019 Jun 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Emma Knuuttila, Jarno Riikonen, Heimo Syvälä, Seppo Auriola, Teemu J Murtola

Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Department of Urology, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland., Department of Urology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland., School of Pharmacy, Department of Mass Spectrometry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.