Cholesterol Drugs Don't Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Study contradicts previous findings linking statin use with reduced colorectal cancer risk

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to previous research, cholesterol-lowering drugs don't reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the results of a large cohort study published in the Jan. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Eric J. Jacobs, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 132,136 men and women enrolled in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort.

The researchers identified 815 cases of colorectal cancer between 1997 to 2001. They found no association between colorectal cancer incidence and current use of cholesterol-lowering drugs (relative risk 1.03) or between colorectal cancer incidence and use of cholesterol-lowering drugs for five years or more (RR 1.09). The study authors conclude that their findings "do not support the hypothesis that statin use strongly reduces risk of colorectal cancer," but they don't rule out the possibility that specific types or doses of statins may be associated with a small reduction in risk.

"The study provides a prompt and timely contribution to the literature, because it capitalized on the existence of a large and well-characterized cohort," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Although there are still many questions that warrant investigation, it remains premature to conclude that a large chemoprevention trial with statins that is aimed at reducing colorectal cancer risk is warranted."

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