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New meta-analysis looks at role of statins in reducing colon cancer risk

--added 10/18/10

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- A systematic review of the medical literature supports the hypothesis that statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs used to prevent cardiac problems, are associated with reduced risk of colon and rectal cancers. A comprehensive analysis by investigators at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center included 22 scientific studies with more than 2.5 million combined participants.

New meta-analysis looks at role of statins in reducing colon cancer risk
Jewel Samadder, M.D., M.Sc.

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"Statin use was associated with a statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer," says Jewel Samadder, M.D., MSc., a former gastroenterology fellow at the U-M Medical School who is now a fellow at the Mayo Clinic.

The study will be presented Oct. 19, 2010, at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The relative risk was 0.88 and represents a 12% reduction in the odds of colorectal cancer among statin users. This effect was largely consistent across study design with both case control and cohort studies showing a strong correlation. The length of statin use -- greater than 6 months and greater than 5 years -- was associated with reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Importantly, when the analysis was stratified for statin type, the most common category of statins (lipophilic, which includes Liptor) showed the greatest effect.

"Observational studies have suggested that long-term use of statins is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver. Our findings suggest that randomized controlled trials designed to test the hypothesis that statins reduce the risk of colorectal cancer are warranted," adds Samadder.

Additional authors: Akshay Gupta, M.D., U-M Department of Internal Medicine; Gad Rennert, M.D., Ph.D., Carmel Medical Center, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Clalit Health Services National Cancer Control Center in Haifa, Israel; and Stephen B. Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., U-M Departments of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics and Epidemiology.

Reference: American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting, Oct. 15-20, 2010.

Resources

U-M Cancer AnswerLine™, 800-865-1125

Colon cancer clinical studies on UMClinicalStudies.org.

Written by Nicole Fawcett

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