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Statin use and all-cancer mortality: prospective results from the Women’s Health Initiative

 

Wang A, Aragaki AK, Tang JY, Kurian AW, Manson JE, Chlebowski RT, Simon M, Desai P, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Liu S, Kritchevsky S, Wakelee HA, Stefanick ML. Statin use and all-cancer mortality: prospective results from the Women’s Health Initiative. Br J Cancer. 2016 Jun 9. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2016.149. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study aims to investigate the association between statin use and all-cancer survival in a prospective cohort of postmenopausal women, using data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS) and Clinical Trial (WHI-CT).

METHODS:

The WHI study enrolled women aged 50-79 years from 1993 to 1998 at 40 US clinical centres. Among 146 326 participants with median 14.6 follow-up years, 23 067 incident cancers and 3152 cancer deaths were observed. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate the relationship between statin use and cancer survival.

RESULTS:

Compared with never-users, current statin use was associated with significantly lower risk of cancer death (hazard ratio (HR), 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.71-0.86, P<0.001) and all-cause mortality (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.74-0.88). Use of other lipid-lowering medications was also associated with increased cancer survival (P-interaction (int)=0.57). The lower risk of cancer death was not dependent on statin potency (P-int=0.22), lipophilicity/hydrophilicity (P-int=0.43), type (P-int=0.34) or duration (P-int=0.33). However, past statin users were not at lower risk of cancer death compared with never-users (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.85-1.33); in addition, statin use was not associated with a reduction of overall cancer incidence despite its effect on survival (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-1.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In a cohort of postmenopausal women, regular use of statins or other lipid-lowering medications was associated with decreased cancer death, regardless of the type, duration, or potency of statin medications used.