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Statins Don't Reduce Colon Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Date:11/8/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A large-scale new study found that postmenopausal women who take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins do not reduce their risk for colorectal cancer.

Previous studies have suggested that statins may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. But this new study of more than 150,000 women found no reduced risk, regardless of the type of statin taken or for how long.

"The upshot was there was no significant difference in colorectal cancer risk between statin users and nonusers," lead researcher Dr. Michael S. Simon, a professor of oncology at Wayne State University in Detroit, said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Simon was to present the findings at the American Association for Cancer Research's ninth annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, which concludes Wednesday in Philadelphia.

For the study, Simon's team collected data on 159,219 postmenopausal women who took part in the Woman's Health Initiative study. Over 10 years of follow-up, there were 2,000 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed among the women. Some 7.6 percent of the women were taking statins.

Simon said that results from several earlier studies had suggested a small reduction in colorectal cancer risk in people who use statins. But, most studies have found no association between statin use and reduced colorectal cancer risk.

Simon added, however, that this new study probably won't end the debate, and more research is needed about the role statins might play in cancer prevention. In fact, the impact of statin use on colorectal cancer risk deserves more study in certain types of patients, he said.

"A recent study suggested a possible greater effect of statins in reducing both cardiovascular and colorectal cancer risk among individuals with a genetic variation of the enzyme inhibited by statins," Simon said. "This finding sugge
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