Statins did not reduce colorectal cancer in WHI analysis

November 8, 2010

The use of statins among a group of postmenopausal women did not reduce the risk for colorectal cancer, according to the results of a prospective analysis of data from the large population-based Women's Health Initiative (WHI).

"The results of our study are consistent with the majority of the literature suggesting no significant reduction in colorectal cancer risk among users of ," said Michael S. Simon, M.D., professor of oncology in the department of oncology at Wayne State University and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit.

Simon presented these study results at the Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held here from Nov. 7-10, 2010.

According to Simon, the results from several case-control studies have shown a moderate reduction in colorectal cancer risk in people who use statins. However, a majority of the literature researching the association, including data from and cohort studies, show no association between statin use and reduced colorectal cancer risk.

"Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of and death in the United States," he said. "While regular screening has been shown to be effective in decreasing mortality, the majority of the population receives no screening, or inadequate screening, which supports the need to focus on chemoprevention to lower death rates."

One method of colorectal cancer chemoprevention being researched is the use of statins. In this study, Simon and colleagues used data from the WHI to determine if there was a link between colorectal cancer prevention and statins. The study included 159,219 aged 50 to 79 years. There were 2,000 cases of colorectal cancer identified during an average of 10 years of follow-up.

Women participating in the study were asked to bring all medications to their screening interviews and the use of any statin, or other lipid-lowering medication, was entered into the WHI database. About 8 percent of women in the study were using statins.

The yearly rate of colorectal cancer did not differ between women taking statins and those not taking statins. There was also no difference in risk for colorectal cancer based on the duration of statin use, type of statin, statin potency or use of other lipid-lowering medications. In addition, the researchers identified no link between statin use and tumor location, stage, grade or histology.

According to Simon though, the effect of statins on colorectal risk deserves some additional study in certain patient populations.

"A recent study suggested a possible greater effect of statins in reducing both cardiovascular and colorectal among individuals with a genetic variation of the enzyme inhibited by statins," he said. "This finding suggests that future studies should focus on individuals at high risk based on family history or genetic predisposition."

Explore further: Statin use associated with reduction in prostate specific antigen levels

Related Stories

Hormone therapy associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk

January 8, 2009

The combination of estrogen plus progestin, which women stopped taking in droves following the news that it may increase their risk of breast cancer, may decrease their risk of colorectal cancer, according to a report published ...

Study shows why statins protect some against cancer

April 26, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Weill Cornell researchers report almost half of Caucasians taking statins are probably not protected against cancer as well as other people because of a particular inherited gene variant.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.