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Statins Lower Risk of Clots in Cancer Patients
Date:10/27/2008

Study found those who took them were less likely to get venous thromboembolism

MONDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A class of drugs widely used to lower cholesterol may have a future in preventing blood clots in patients with breast, lung, colon and other solid-organ cancers.

Research from scientists at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia found that cancer patients taking statins had a lower incidence of clots than did patients not taking the medications.

But experts cautioned that the results, which were expected to be presented at the American College of Chest Physicians' annual meeting in Philadelphia, are not yet ready for prime time.

Even the researchers noted the preliminary nature of the findings.

Study author Dr. Danai Khemasuwan called the discovery "thought-provoking," but added that randomized, controlled studies are needed before the results can be applied in the clinical arena.

Experts agreed with that analysis.

"This preliminary analysis is interesting, but far from confirmatory," said Dr. Carl "Chip" Lavie Jr., medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention director of the stress testing laboratory at Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute in New Orleans. "Statins could improve endothelial function, and this could reduce the chance of venous thrombosis. Conceivably, statins could have some benefits on clotting factors. It is known that statins can have platelet effects, but this should help arterial thrombosis and would not be expected to help venous thrombosis."

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a condition that includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) as well as pulmonary embolism, or potentially fatal clots in the lung.

DVT is strongly linked to prolonged immobility, such as sitting in a plane for hours, but can strike anyone and, in fact, afflicts some 2 million Americans each year.

Statins are the class of drugs wh
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