Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Statins May Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Statins May Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Data from a large epidemiological study suggest that colorectal cancer may soon join the list of conditions that can be ameliorated by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Regular use of statins for prevention of cardiovascular disease was associated with a nearly 50% reduction in the prevalence of colorectal cancer, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"Our data cannot be used as rationale for changing the indication for statin drugs to include prevention or treatment of colorectal cancer, but this question certainly warrants further investigation," said Jenny Poynter, a statistician from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

She presented findings from the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Michigan and the National Cancer Control Center, Haifa, Israel. Using the Kolit Health Database, the MECC team studied statin use and colorectal cancer incidence in northern Israel from March 1998 to March 2004. The Israeli population has a prevalence of colorectal cancer that is roughly equivalent to that of the United States.

The study was undertaken because of strong preclinical evidence suggesting that statins have an effect on colorectal cancer. HMG CoA is overexpressed by colorectal cancer cell lines, and statin drugs induce apoptosis when added to colorectal cancer cell cultures. These drugs also have been shown to reduce tumor formation in animal models.

Secondary analyses of cardiovascular randomized controlled trials have come to equivocal conclusions, but several studies, including the Cholesterol and Recurrent Events (CARE) trial, show a definite trend toward reduced colorectal cancer in patients taking statins versus those taking placebo.

In the MECC study, statin use was defined as taking any statin drug at any point during the 5 years prior to enrollment in the trial. Information on statin use was gathered via patient interviews and was confirmed whenever possible with prescription records. Diagnoses of colorectal cancer drawn from the Kolit database were confirmed by pathologists and oncologists at the University of Michigan.

Data on 1,814 individuals with colorectal cancer and 1,959 individuals without the disease showed that the cases and controls were well matched in terms of age, gender, religious/ethnic background, and prevalence and severity of cardiovascular disease.

Of the individuals with colorectal cancer, 5.8% were regular users of statins, versus 11.3% of the controls. …

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