Cholesterol Lowering Statins Do Not Affect Cancer Risk
It was previously thought that cholesterol-lowering drugs - statins - increase cancer risk, but this new large study says that statins neither increase, nor decrease cancer risk.
A year ago a team of researchers from Tufts Medical Center in Boston analyzed 13 studies involving participants taking statins. They reported that people taking statins for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL - bad cholesterol) are at increased cancer risk, although the increase was not significant - only one case out of 1000.
Now the same team conducted a meta-analysis to clarify the link between cholesterol-lowering drugs and cancer risk. They analyzed data from 15 previously conducted trials involving 51,797 participants taking statins and 45,043 participants taking placebos. All participants were followed for about 5 years.
It was previously known that cancer death rate is much higher among those with lower LDL than those with higher levels. Researchers set a goal to find out if statins even increase cancer death in addition to lowering LDL and they concluded that the risk doesn't exist.
"When you look at all of the statin trials together, what they show is there is no overall effect on cancer, either increasing it or preventing it," said study author Dr. Richard Karas.
Researchers are now sure that cholesterol-lowering drugs do not affect on cancer risk, but now they question the link between cancer and LDL levels. One hypothesis is that cancer itself probably lowers cholesterol, but the links still needs to be examined and clarified.