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Statins May Protect Heart From Chemo for Early Breast Cancer

Risk for heart failure hospital presentations significantly lower in statin-exposed women treated with anthracyclines

woman getting chemotherapy

THURSDAY, Jan. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For women with early breast cancer treated with anthracyclines, statin exposure is associated with a lower risk for hospital presentation for heart failure, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Husam Abdel-Qadir, M.D., Ph.D., from the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving women aged 66 years and older without prior heart failure who received anthracyclines or trastuzumab for newly diagnosed early breast cancer. Using propensity scores, statin-exposed and unexposed women were matched in a 1:1 ratio. Data were included for 666 statin-discordant pairs of anthracycline-treated women and 390 pairs of trastuzumab-treated women.

The researchers found that the five-year cumulative incidence of heart failure hospital presentations after anthracyclines was 1.2 percent (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.5 to 2.6 percent) and 2.9 percent (95 percent CI, 1.7 to 4.6 percent) in statin-exposed and unexposed women, respectively (P = 0.01). In the anthracycline cohort, the cause-specific hazard ratio associated with statins was 0.45 (95 percent CI, 0.24 to 0.85; P = 0.01). The five-year cumulative incidence of heart failure hospital presentations after trastuzumab was 2.7 percent (95 percent CI, 1.2 to 5.2 percent) and 3.7 percent (95 percent CI, 2.0 to 6.2 percent) in statin-exposed and unexposed women, respectively (P = 0.09), with a cause-specific hazard ratio associated with statins of 0.46 (95 percent CI, 0.20 to 1.07; P = 0.07).

"This study does not conclusively prove statins are protective," Abdel-Qadir said in a statement. "However, this study builds on the body of evidence suggesting that they may have benefits."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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