(HealthDay News) – Statins may lower the risk of esophageal cancer, particularly in patients with Barrett’s esophagus, according to a review published in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Siddharth Singh, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues conducted a literature review through August 2012 to identify 13 studies that evaluated exposure to statins, reported the development of esophageal cancer, and reported relative risks or odds ratios (OR) or provided data for their estimation.
The researchers found that the included studies reported 9,285 cases of esophageal cancer among 1,132,969 patients. A significant (28%) reduction in the risk of esophageal cancer was seen among patients who took statins (adjusted OR, 0.72), in a meta-analysis, although there was considerable heterogeneity among studies. Among a subset of patients known to have Barrett’s esophagus (five studies; 312 esophageal adenocarcinomas [EACs] in 2,125 patients), after adjusting for potential confounders, statins were associated with a significant (41%) decrease in the risk of EAC, (adjusted OR, 0.59). To prevent one case of EAC in patients with Barrett’s esophagus, the number needed to treat with statins was 389.
“Based on meta-analysis of observational studies, statin use may be associated with lower risk of esophageal cancer, particularly risk of EAC in patients with Barrett’s esophagus,” the authors write.