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Independent Analyses of the SEAS, SHARP and IMPROVE-IT Studies of Ezetimibe
Date:7/21/2008

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Two other large trials of ezetimibe + statin are still in progress: (i) SHARP (ezetimibe + simvastatin vs placebo in 9,000 patients; recruitment completed, but treatment and follow-up continuing) and (ii) IMPROVE-IT (ezetimibe + simvastatin vs placebo + simvastatin in 11,000 patients; recruitment continues towards an eventual target of 18,000 patients). Together, they have already accumulated about four times as many cancers as SEAS (see table). If treatment really did increase total cancer by 50% then this would have been clearly apparent in the hypothesis testing SHARP & IMPROVE-IT trials. Instead, there was no evidence of any increase in cancer (see table).

Cancer events Active Control

Hypothesis generator: SEAS 102 67

Hypothesis test: SHARP & IMPROVE-IT* 313 326

* 216 active vs 254 control non-fatal cases and 97 vs 72 fatal cases.

If there were a real adverse effect on cancer incidence or cancer mortality then previous experience with the epidemiology of cancer (ie, with other causes of the disease in humans) strongly suggests that the relative risk (active versus control) should grow bigger with time, but it does not, whether the hypothesis-testing trials are considered separately or all 3 trials are considered together.

Note: The University of Oxford Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) has decades of experience in cancer epidemiology, in vascular and other trials, and in collaborative meta-analyses of trials. Although CTSU is conducting the SHARP trial, it is doing so independently of the source of funding, and has a policy of not accepting honoraria or consultancy fees. This report to regulatory authorities on the analyses of SEAS, SHARP and IMPROVE-IT was initiated, conducted and interpreted by the CTSU independently of any source of funding.

For more information, please, refer to the press release issued by the SEAS
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