Cholesterol Medications Linked to Fewer Cancer-Related Deaths in Women

November 2nd 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Among women with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or melanoma, those who were taking cholesterol-lowering medications were less likely to die from cancer, according to a recent analysis.

Among women with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or melanoma, those who were taking cholesterol-lowering medications were less likely to die from cancer, according to an analysis published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.1

The researchers tested the hypothesis that adherence to lipid-lowering medications (LLMs) is associated with reduced cancer-specific mortality in a homogeneous population who had used these drugs before cancer diagnosis. The Australian Cancer Database was linked to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme database and to the National Death Index up to the year 2015, according to the study.2

Further, the medication adherence was calculated by proportion of days covered. Cox regression models with time-varying covariates were used to derive multivariable-adjusted cause-specific hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval for the associations between adherence to LLMs, statins, lipophilic, and hydrophilic statins, and cancer-specific mortality.2

From 2003 to 2013, 3 separate cohorts of 20,046, 11,719, and 6430 female patients with newly diagnosed breast, colorectal cancer, and melanoma were identified, respectively. The 1-year adherence was similar at 1-year pre-diagnosis in the 3 cohorts, at an average of 82%.2

Additionally, each 10% increase in 1-year adherence to LLMs was inversely associated with cancer-specific mortality among women with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or melanoma. The reductions in cancer-specific mortality were more pronounced for women who adhered to lipophilic rather than hydrophilic statins in all 3 cancers, although it was not statistically significant for melanoma, according to the study.2

The researchers found that among LLM users, adherence to the drug is associated with a decrease in cancer-specific mortality. If confirmed, LLMs could be considered as an adjuvant cancer therapy to improve prognosis in cancer survivors, according to the study.2

REFERENCES

  1. Cholesterol medications linked to lower cancer-related deaths in women. EurekAlert! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/w-cml101920.php. Published October 21, 2020. Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. Feng JL, Qin X. Does adherence to lipid-lowering medications improve cancer survival? A nationwide study of breast and colorectal cancer, and melanoma. BCJP. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14573.

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