Statins do not increase risk of cancer

A new retrospective cohort analysis suggests that statins are not associated with an increased risk of cancer. Researchers used the General Electric Centricity electronic medical record database of more than 11 million adult Americans to match nearly 46,000 patient pairs by propensity scores receiving and not receiving statin therapy. With an average time in the database of 8 years, the incidence of cancer in patients taking a statin was 11.37% compared with 11.11% in matched patients not taking a statin (HR 1.04; 95% CI: 0.99-1.09). The authors conclude that this analysis demonstrates no statistically significant increase in cancer risk associated with statins, although they do suggest that more research is needed (J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;58:530-537). Lingering fears about cancer risk associated with statins was strengthened by the SEAS trial published in 2008, which showed the combination drug simvastatin/ezetimibe (Vytorin) was associated with a two-fold increase in the rate of cancer in a small group of patients. The FDA has continued to study these data along with data from other studies, but this new analysis adds significant evidence of a lack of association between statins and cancer.