Statins are associated with a slight reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the results of a recent meta-analysis presented at the 2010 American College of Gastroenterology meeting.1 Investigators at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor conducted a systematic review that included 22 studies with a total of more than 2.5 million participants.
In statin users, the risk of colorectal cancer was 12% lower than in those who did not take these drugs. (The relative risk was 0.88 [95% CI 0.84-0.93; n = 22].) The risk reduction was consistent across both case control and cohort studies.
The duration of statin therapy associated with reduced risk ranged from 6 months to more than 5 years. When the analysis was stratified for statin type, lipophilic statins showed the greatest effect.
The results of this meta-analysis are consistent with those of observational studies that have suggested long-term statin therapy is associated with a reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, and liver. "Randomized, controlled trials designed to test the hypothesis that statins reduce the risk of colorectal cancer are warranted," said N. Jewel Samadder, MD, one of the University of Michigan investigators.