Statin use associated with statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer

October 18, 2010

A systematic review of the medical literature supports the hypothesis that statins, cholesterol‐lowering drugs used to prevent cardiac problems, are associated with reduced risk of colon and rectal cancers. A comprehensive analysis by investigators at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, included 22 scientific studies with more than 2.5 million combined participants.

"Statin use was associated with a statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer," explained Jewel Samadder, M.D., MSc. The relative risk was 0.88 (95% CI 0.84‐0.93; n=22) and represents a 12% reduction in the odds of colorectal cancer among statin users. This effect was largely consistent across study design with both case control and cohort studies showing a strong correlation. The length of statin use, both greater than 6 months and greater than 5 years of use was associated with reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Importantly, when the analysis was stratified for statin type, the most common category of statins, lipophilic (which includes atorvastatin or Lipitor), showed the greatest effect.

"Observational studies have suggested that long‐term use of statins is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver. Our findings suggest that randomized controlled trials designed to test the hypothesis that statins reduce the risk of colorectal are warranted," added Dr. Samadder.

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