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Patients taking statins on a regular basis may reduce the odds of developing colorectal cancer by 50%, according to a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (May 26, 2005). The study compared statin use by 1953 patients in Israel who had been diagnosed with colon cancer between 1998 and 2004 with statin use by a control group of 2015 participants. The 2 commonly used statin drugs taken by the study group were simvastatin and pravastatin.
The findings showed a 47% "relative reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer after adjustment for other known risk factors."Researcher Stephen B. Gruber, MD, PhD, said that more testing was warranted because the absolute risk reduction was most likely low. He also stressed that the current study is only an observation in a selected population. In order to determine whether statins help protect against colorectal cancer, Dr. Gruber said that a randomized clinical trial that includes these medicines and other statins, compared with a placebo, is necessary.