Patients taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may be at lower risk for developing cancer, especially lung and colorectal cancers. However, it is unknown whether statins directly prevent cancer.
Laboratory studies have shown that statins may inhibit cancer cell growth, but evidence from observational studies has been inconsistent.
To investigate the association between statin use and cancer incidence, Wildon Farwell, M.D., of the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and colleagues collected data on patients in the VA healthcare system who were using statins and/or blood pressure-lowering medications.
Statin users had a reduced risk of all cancer types compared with non-statin users. The incidence of cancer was 9.4 percent among statin users and 13.2 percent among non-statin users.
"Our findings support the hypothesis that statins may reduce the risk of cancer, in particular lung and colorectal cancers. This relationship may be affected by the [statin dose]," the authors write.
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