Prostate Cancer and Anticoagulants

Summary: Use of oral anticoagulants and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Canada

Dr. Audrey Blanc-Lapierre, Dr. Deborah Weiss, Dr. Marie-Elise Parent

 

The GRePEC research team made use of their large population-based case-control study to investigate the recent observation that anticoagulant medications may protect against prostate cancer development. By eliminating past method-based issues, Dr. Audrey Blanc-Lapierre, Dr. Deborah Weiss, and Dr. Marie-Elise Parent are the first to use a comprehensive determination of actual prostate cancer cases and to gather such thorough details on anticoagulant use, i.e. duration and reason for use, as well as possible aspects that might muddle results like socio-demographic, lifestyle, and medical factors, prostate cancer family history, and prostate cancer screening. The results did not support a major role of oral anticoagulants in the progression of prostate cancer.

 

These findings were based on a detailed medical history collected during in-person interviews. This history required that the participants in the study provide information on any disease or medical condition that they had ever had for at least 6 months, along with the medications taken to treat them. Although these questions were based on memory, the assessment, at least in terms of anticoagulant use, can be seen as reliable since such treatment requires close biological monitoring and a restrictive diet. Both of these likely enhance accurate recall.

 

No differences were found according to time since first use, duration of use, current use, age at first use, or purpose for use. Likewise when looking at only the subjects screened for prostate cancer within the last 2 years, and with regard to cancer aggressiveness. The protective effect was slightly more pronounced among subjects older than 65, and who were older at first use, which merits further investigation. Additional confirmation regarding a possible protective effect of oral anticoagulants is needed, too, due to the potential bleeding complications associated with anticoagulants. As it stands, VKA therapy (Vitamin K Antagonists, i.e. anticoagulants) does not appear to be relevant to prostate cancer prevention.