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AACR: Statin Use Not Likely to Affect Overall Cancer Risk

But long-term use may reduce risk for endometrial cancer, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term use of statins for cholesterol control is unlikely to significantly increase or decrease overall cancer risk but may reduce the risk for some individual cancers, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held from Nov. 7 to 10 in Philadelphia.

Eric J. Jacobs, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed the incidence of 10 common cancers and the overall cancer incidence in 133,255 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Study participants, who had completed questionnaires about a range of lifestyle and medical factors, including use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, were followed from 1997 to 2007, during which time more than 15,000 received a cancer diagnosis.

The researchers found that current use of cholesterol-lowering drugs (mainly statins) for five years or longer was not associated with risk for overall cancer incidence (relative risk [RR], 0.97), or for incidence of bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, prostate, or renal cell cancer. However, cholesterol-lowering drug use was associated with lowered risk of endometrial cancer (RR, 0.61), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (RR, 0.73), and melanoma (RR, 0.81).

"These results suggest that long-term use of statins is unlikely to substantially increase or decrease overall cancer risk. However, associations between long-term statin use and risk of endometrial cancer, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma deserve further investigation," the authors write.

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