Lung Cancer Mortality May be Lowered by Long-Term Statin Use

Researchers find significant reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths.

Researchers find significant reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths.

Lung cancer patients who received statins in the year before or after lung cancer diagnosis saw a reduced risk of death from the disease, according to a recent study.

Published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed data from approximately 14,000 lung cancer patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2009 with mortality data up to 2012.

In patients who survived at least 6 months following lung cancer diagnosis, those who used statins had a statistically non-significant 11% reduction in cancer-specific deaths. In patients who used at least 12 statin prescriptions, there was a statistically significant 19% reduction in cancer-specific deaths.

Meanwhile, patients who used lipophilic statins, such as simvastatin, saw a 19% reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths.

Among all patients who used statins in the year prior to lung cancer diagnosis, there was a statistically significant 12% reduction in cancer-specific deaths. The researchers noted that outcomes did not vary between non-small cell lung cancer patients and small cell lung cancer patients.

"Our study provides some evidence that lung cancer patients who used statins had a reduction in the risk of death from lung cancer,” said study author Chris Cardwell, PhD, in a press release. “The magnitude of the association was relatively small and, as with all observational studies, there is the possibility of confounding--meaning that simvastatin users may have differed from simvastatin nonusers in other ways that could have protected them from death from cancer, for which we could not correct. However, this finding is worthy of further investigation in observational studies. If replicated in further observational studies, this would provide evidence in favor of conducting a randomized, controlled trial of simvastatin in lung cancer patients.”