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Statins Do Not Strongly Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

However, researchers cannot rule out modest reduction in risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Statins, a common class of cholesterol-lowering medicines, do not appear to strongly protect against colorectal cancer, according to a large meta-analysis published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Stefanos Bonovos, M.D., of the University of Athens in Greece, and colleagues compiled randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies (case-control or cohort) involving statin use. They calculated the relative risk of diagnosis of colorectal cancer using three separate meta-analyses conducted based on study type.

Eighteen studies (six RCTs, three cohort and nine case-control) were included, involving more than 1.5 million participants. No association was detected between statin use and colorectal cancer incidence in the RCT group (RR, 0.95) or the cohort study group (RR, 0.96). However, in the case-control group, statin use was associated with a modest reduction of 8 percent in the risk of colorectal cancer.

"Our meta-analysis results do not support the hypothesis that statins strongly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, when taken for management of hypercholesterolemia. However, we cannot rule out a modest reduction in risk or an effect associated with higher doses of statins," the authors conclude.

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