Statins reduced risk of colorectal cancer in meta-analysis
10 December 2020Findings from a recent study showed that people who regularly took statins, a group of medicines that help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol in the blood, had a significantly lower risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). This protective effect was most pronounced among individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, which are linked to an increased risk of developing CRC. Lead investigator, Kevin Singh, MD, from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City stated that “Chemoprotective agents to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer have been studied for decades”. While a large body of evidence shows that the most chemoprotective effect comes with daily, low-dose aspirin use, it is also associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding which compromises its usefulness as a chemoprotective agent.Statins are the most frequently prescribed medications around the world and are generally well tolerated. Regular use of statins has been associated with a lower risk of developing several types of cancers, including breast, gastric and pancreatic. The study consisted of a systematic analysis of data from 52 different studies that involved more than 11 million individuals. Statin users had a 20% lower risk of developing CRC, while individuals with inflammatory bowel disease lowered their risk by about 60%. Further studies will be needed to confirm these findings, and to examine whether the chemoprotective effect of statins differs according to the type of inflammatory condition that is present.
Take home message:
Statins are the most frequently prescribed medications around the world, used to lower “bad” cholesterol levels in the body. A recent analysis found that statin use was associated with a significant 20% reduction in risk for colorectal cancer, and a 60% reduction in risk among individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which are known to increase one’s risk for developing colorectal cancer.