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Statins Don't Seem to Raise Cancer Risk
Date:7/18/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- A large, new study appears to quell concerns that taking statins might raise the risk of cancer.

Among approximately 91,000 adults whose full medical records were available via an electronic database, researchers report there was no significant difference in cancer risk among those who took statins and those who didn't.

After an average of five years of follow-up among nearly 46,000 pairs of people who either used the cholesterol-lowering drugs or did not use them, 11.37 percent of participants taking a statin developed cancer, compared to 11.11 percent of those individuals not taking a statin, according to the study in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

A common survival curve plotted for any cancer diagnosis up to 10 years also showed no difference between the two groups, the researchers reported.

The study authors noted that due to the way the matching pairs were selected, their conclusions "may not be generalizable to the overall population of U.S. adults taking statins" and recommended further analyses.

Experts not involved in the study, however, supported the findings.

"The new findings are fairly conclusive, because the numbers are large and the outcomes are compelling," said Dr. Stanley Rockson, a cardiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine. While they do not seem to increase cancer risk, statins do confer some risks such as liver damage and muscle problems, he added.

"In groups in whom the risk of no treatment is suitably high, the benefit will eclipse any risk associated with treatment," he said. "We can put the statin-cancer risk story to bed."

Dr. David C Goff, department chair of epidemiology & prevention in the division of public health sciences at Wake Forest University Health Sciences Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., agreed. "This is another
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