(HealthDay News) – For patients with cancer, statin use prior to diagnosis correlates with reduced all-cause and cancer-related mortality.

In an effort to examine whether statin use initiated before cancer diagnosis reduced cancer-related mortality, Sune F. Nielsen, PhD, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues evaluated mortality among patients from the Danish population who had received a diagnosis of cancer between 1995 and 2007 and were followed up through December 2009. The cohort included 18,271 patients aged >40 years who had used statins regularly before diagnosis, and 277,204 patients who had never used statins.

The researchers found that, compared with non-users, for statin users the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios were significantly lower and were 0.85 each for death from any cause and death from cancer. The adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality varied according to the defined daily dose of statin per day and were 0.82 for a dose of 0.01–0.75; 0.87 for a dose of 0.76–1.50; and 0.87 for a dose >1.50. The corresponding hazard ratios for cancer-related mortality were 0.83, 0.87, and 0.87, respectively. For each of 13 cancer types there was reduced cancer-related mortality for statin users vs. non-users.

“In conclusion, among patients with cancer, we observed an association between statin use at the time of diagnosis and a reduced risk of cancer-related mortality, with a reduction of up to 15%,” the authors write. “Prospective evaluation of the hypothesis that statin use prolongs the survival of patients with cancer is needed.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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