Statins not seen linked to breast cancer risk
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking a statin drug does not seem to increase or decrease the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, according to a study published in the medical journal Cancer.
Some lab studies have shown that statins inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells, note Dr. Gaia Pocobelli, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues. Conversely, other studies, in which rodents were exposed to high doses of statins, showed increases in several types of cancer.
To look into the question, the researchers identified 4179 women with invasive breast cancer, randomly selected from population-based cancer registries in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. For comparison, 4983 "controls" were also randomly selected in each state, from lists of licensed drivers and Medicare beneficiaries.
Structured telephone interviews were conducted to obtain information on the use of statins and breast cancer risk factors.
Overall, 7.0 percent of all the women had ever taken a statin, including 271 women with breast cancer and 336 of the controls.
The overall use of statins was not associated with breast cancer risk, Dr. Pocobelli and colleagues found. They also observed no relationship between duration of use and cancer risk.
However, given the large number of people taking these drugs, they suggest that further investigation of individual statins is warranted.
SOURCE: Cancer, January 1, 2008.