New meta-analysis looks at role of statins in reducing colon cancer risk

A comprehensive analysis by investigators at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center included 22 scientific studies with more than 2.5 million combined participants. 

“Statin use was associated with a statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer,” says Jewel Samadder, M.D., MSc., a former gastroenterology fellow at the U-M Medical School who is now a fellow at the Mayo Clinic.
The study will be presented Oct. 19, 2010, at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
The relative risk was 0.88 and represents a 12 percent reduction in the odds of colorectal cancer among statin users. This effect was largely consistent across study design with both case control and cohort studies showing a strong correlation.  The length of statin use — greater than 6 months and greater than 5 years — was associated with reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Importantly, when the analysis was stratified for statin type, the most common category of statins (lipophilic, which includes Liptor) showed the greatest effect.
“Observational studies have suggested that long-term use of statins is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver.  Our findings suggest that randomized controlled trials designed to test the hypothesis that statins reduce the risk of colorectal cancer are warranted,” adds Samadder.
Additional authors: Akshay Gupta, M.D., U-M Department of Internal Medicine; Gad Rennert, M.D., Ph.D., Carmel Medical Center, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Clalit Health Services National Cancer Control Center in Haifa, Israel; and Stephen B. Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., U-M Departments of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics and Epidemiology
Reference: American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting, Oct. 15-20, 2010

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