Statins in patients with cancer

Patients taking a statin when diagnosed with cancer have a better prognosis than patients who are not taking statins, according to a new study. This study also used the Danish Registry in which all patients with a cancer diagnosis between 1995 and 2007 were evaluated. Roughly 19,000 patients were on a statin prior to diagnosis and 277,000 were not. Those taking statins were 15% less likely to die of any cause and 15% less likely to die of cancer (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI, 0.82-0.87 for cancer). The benefit was present regardless of statin dose or cancer type. The authors suggest that this is biologically plausible since cholesterol is needed for cell proliferation. They suggest "a need for trials of statins in patients with cancer" (N Engl J Med 2012;367:1792-1802). Previous studies have suggested reduced cancer mortality with statins in patients with prostate cancer and reduced recurrence rates in breast cancer patients.