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Statins May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer for Older Women

Statins May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer for Older Women

SAN FRANCISCO—Common cholesterol-lowering agents (statins) may be effective in the chemoprevention of breast cancer in older women, a new study shows. The data were presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1647).

"It appears that older women who take cholesterol-lowering agents in the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor family may also be protecting themselves against breast cancer," said Jane Cauley, DrPH, associate professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The study population included 7,791 white women (mean age, 77.1) who were participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, led by Dr. Cauley. Among these women, there were 293 current statin users. During an average of 5.4 years of follow-up, 191 women in the cohort developed breast cancer.

88% Reduction

The analysis showed that use of a statin reduced new breast cancer cases by 88%, after adjusting for age and body weight. The age-adjusted incidence rate of breast cancer was 2.1 per 1,000 person-years among statin users, compared with 4.7 per 1,000 person-years among nonusers. The rate of breast cancer among nonusers of statins was similar to the rate (4.6) observed in the United States for older white women (SEER data).

A total of 300 women (4%), similar to the number of statin users (293), reported the use of other lipid-lowering agents. No significant effect of other lipid-lowering agents on the incidence of breast cancer was seen in these women, however, Dr. Cauley said. 

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