Erectile dysfunction is common after radical prostatectomy because of damage to the cavernous nerves. Thus, it is important to identify new ways to avoid this problem. For example, statins have shown positive effects on erectile function and may have anti-inflammatory effects that improve recovery after surgery.

The aim of this exploratory analysis of a subgroup from ESTO1, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, was to evaluate the preoperative use of atorvastatin on erectile function after radical prostatectomy.

Patients were randomized to either 80 mg atorvastatin or placebo daily before undergoing radical prostatectomy from study inclusion to the day of surgery. Altogether 118 men with prostate cancer and scheduled for radical prostatectomy were asked to fill out the 5-item version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire before surgery and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after surgery.

The study was exploratory, with the main outcome being the overall difference between IIEF-5 scores in the 2 groups at 12 months. Several hypotheses generating sub-analyses were conducted.

Overall, 85% filled out the IIEF-5 questionnaire before their operation and 85%, 81%, 78%, and 78% completed it at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months follow-up, respectively. 52% of men had information available at all time points. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups at baseline in either erectile function, comorbidities, or tumor characteristics. The median duration of use of atorvastatin and placebo before surgery was 27 and 25 days, respectively. Preoperative atorvastatin treatment had no statistically significant effect on erectile function after prostatectomy as compared with placebo, although IIEF-5 scores were higher at all time points in the statin arm. Furthermore, atorvastatin treatment compared with placebo improved IIEF-5 scores at 12 months after surgery when the cavernous nerves were at least partially intact bilaterally (P < .04, n = 65); however, after full bilateral or unilateral nerve-sparing, the difference was not statistically significant.

Short-term statin treatment did not improve recovery of erectile function after prostatectomy; however, further studies are needed before final conclusions.

This was a randomized placebo-controlled study. Original ESTO1 study was designed to detect a difference in prostate cancer biomarkers.

Short-term atorvastatin treatment before radical prostatectomy had no statistically significant effect on the recovery of erectile functions in a non-selected cohort of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy. Further studies will be needed to clarify the role of long-term atorvastatin use before and after prostatectomy. Siltari A, Riikonen J, Fode M, et al. Effects of Preoperative Atorvastatin Treatment On Erectile Function After Radical Prostatectomy: Results From a Subgroup of ESTO1, a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. J Sex Med 2019;XX:XXX-XXX.

The journal of sexual medicine. 2019 Aug 09 [Epub ahead of print]

Aino Siltari, Jarno Riikonen, Mikkel Fode, Teemu J Murtola

Tampere University, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Tampere, Finland. Electronic address: ., Tampere University Hospital, Department of Urology, Tampere, Finland., Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Department of Urology, Herlev, Denmark., Tampere University, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Tampere, Finland; Tampere University Hospital, Department of Urology, Tampere, Finland; Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Department of Surgery, Seinäjoki, Finland.