Statins reduce cholesterol, not risk of colorectal cancer

June 1, 2006

Some studies have indicated that statins inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis in rodents. And one large case–control study from Israel-the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) Trial-found that people who took statins for 5 years or more cut their risk of colorectal cancer in half.

Some studies have indicated that statins inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis in rodents. And one large case–control study from Israel-the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) Trial-found that people who took statins for 5 years or more cut their risk of colorectal cancer in half.

While it would be wonderful to believe that these widely used drugs accomplish even more than the effective lowering of cholesterol, a study of over 130,000 men and women in the Cancer Prevention Study (CPS) II Nutrition Cohort recently found that the use of these agents for more or less than 5 years is not associated with colorectal cancer incidence. Similarly, the authors found no association in subgroups defined by sex, use of NSAIDS, or history of colorectal endoscopy.

Of 132,136 study participants in this latest trial, 815 developed colorectal cancer. The multivariable adjusted rate ratio for those using statins who developed the disease was 1.03 (95% CI; 0.85–1.26) and for those using statins for 5 years or more was 1.09 (95% CI; 0.83–1.43).

Jacobs EJ, Rodriguez C, Brady KA, et al. Cholesterol-lowering drugs and colorectal cancer incidence in a large United States cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006;98:69-72.