Statins May Tackle Cancer

Published Online: Friday, August 1, 2003

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may have a new use?reducing cancer, especially cancer of the kidney and prostate, according to the results of a Dutch study. The study, which looked at drug-dispensing records and hospital discharge records from 8 Dutch cities, found that statin use was connected with a 20% reduction in cancer risk.The researchers compared the use of statin drugs among 3219 patients with cancer and 16, 976 without cancer. All the participants were receiving at least 1 medication for cardiovascular disease.

Lead investigator Matthijs Graaf, PharmD, of the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, said, "People who used statins for less than 4 years did not have a significant risk reduction." The risk of cancer was 36% lower, however, in participants who took statins for at least 4 years, compared with that in people who did not take the drugs. Graaf stressed that more studies are needed before physicians advise patients to take statins solely as a means for decreasing the risk of cancer.

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