Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms.
BACKGROUND A reduction in the availability of cholesterol may limit the cellular proliferation required for cancer growth and metastasis. We tested the hypothesis that statin use begun before a cancer diagnosis is associated with reduced cancer-related mortality. METHODS We assessed mortality among patients from the entire Danish population who had received a diagnosis of cancer between 1995 and 2007, with follow-up until December 31, 2009. Among patients 40 years of age or older, 18,721 had used statins regularly before the cancer diagnosis and 277,204 had never used statins. RESULTS Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for statin users, as compared with patients who had never used statins, were 0.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83 to 0.87) for death from any cause and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.82 to 0.87) for death from cancer. Adjusted hazard ratios for death from any cause according to the defined daily statin dose (the assumed average maintenance dose per day) were 0.82 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.85) for a dose of 0.01 to 0.75 defined daily dose per day, 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.89) for 0.76 to 1.50 defined daily dose per day, and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.91) for higher than 1.50 defined daily dose per day; the corresponding hazard ratios for death from cancer were 0.83 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.86), 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.91), and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.92). The reduced cancer-related mortality among statin users as compared with those who had never used statins was observed for each of 13 cancer types. CONCLUSIONS Statin use in patients with cancer is associated with reduced cancer-related mortality. This suggests a need for trials of statins in patients with cancer.