October 09, 2014
1 min read

Statin use after colorectal cancer diagnosis improved survival

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Patients with colorectal cancer who used statins after diagnosis demonstrated improved survival outcomes compared with those who did not use statins, according to results of a population-based cohort study.

Chris R. Cardwell, PhD, of the Institute of Clinical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used the National Cancer Data Repository to identify 7,657 patients with newly diagnosed stage I to stage III colorectal cancer. The data repository was linked to the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which contained prescription records, as well as the Office of National Statistics, which yielded mortality data.

Chris R. Cardwell, MD

Chris R. Cardwell

Cardwell and colleagues used time-dependent Cox regression models to determine the effect of post-diagnosis statin use on cancer-specific mortality.

Researchers identified 1,647 colorectal cancer-specific deaths in the cohort.

Cardwell and colleagues observed an association between statin use after diagnosis and reduced colorectal cancer-specific mortality (adjusted HR=0.71; 95% CI, 0.61-0.84).

They also reported a dose-response association, as patients who used statins for more than 1 year demonstrated a greater reduction in colorectal cancer-specific mortality adjusted HR=0.64; 95% CI, 0.53-0.79).

After adjustments for confounders, results showed a reduction in all-cause mortality among patients who used statins after colorectal cancer diagnosis (adjusted HR=0.75; 95% CI, 0.66-0.84).

Statin users were more likely to be male, older and prior smokers. They also were more likely to have higher BMI than nonusers. Disease grade and stage were similar between statin users and nonusers.

“The cause of the reduction in colorectal cancer-specific mortality in colorectal cancer patients using statins is unknown,” Cardwell and colleagues wrote. “However, this reduction is consistent with accumulating preclinical evidence suggesting that statins have anticancer properties. Specifically, studies of colorectal cancer cells have shown that statins induce apoptosis and in animal models can inhibit colon carcinogenesis. The association we observed requires confirmation in large, well-conducted observational studies before randomized controlled trials of statins as an adjuvant cancer therapy can be recommended.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.