Link Seen Between Low Cholesterol and Cancer

Statin users who achieve low LDL levels have slightly higher risk of newly diagnosed cancer

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac patients who achieve low LDL levels with statin therapy may have a slightly increased risk of cancer, but the cardiovascular benefits of statin therapy still outweigh the risks, according to study findings published in the July 31 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Richard H. Karas, M.D., of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues analyzed 23 statin treatment arms that included 75,317 patients to assess the link between low-density lipoprotein (LDL) lowering and liver or muscle damage, and 13 treatment arms that included 41,173 patients to assess the link between LDL lowering and cancer.

The researchers found no link between LDL lowering and liver or muscle damage, but found a significant association between high statin doses and elevated liver enzymes. In patients with lower achieved LDL levels, they found a higher rate of newly diagnosed cancer, about one extra incident per 1,000 patients.

"These current findings provide insufficient evidence that there is any problem with LDL lowering that outweighs its significant benefits on vascular disease," states the author of one of two accompanying editorials. However, "we must continue to be vigilant in ensuring that its benefit clearly outweighs its risk."

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial - LaRosa
Editorial - DeMaria

Physician's Briefing