Inverse Association between Statin Use and Cancer Mortality Relates to Cholesterol Level

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Statins have been associated with a decreased cancer mortality. However, cholesterol level as such may modify the risk of cancer death. To clarify the complex interplay between statins, cholesterol level, and cancer mortality, we conducted a comprehensive analysis to separate the effects of cholesterol level and statin medication on cancer mortality. Our study population consisted of 16,924 men participating in the Finnish Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer with at least one cholesterol measurement during follow-up (1996-2017). Cox proportional regression was used to estimate hazard ratios. In total, 1699 cancer deaths were observed during the median follow-up of 19 years. When statins' association with the risk of cancer death was estimated without adjustment for cholesterol level, statin use was associated with a lowered cancer mortality (HR 0.87; 95% CI 0.79-0.97) compared to non-users. However, with further adjustment for total cholesterol level, statin use was no longer associated with a lower cancer mortality (HR 1.08; 95% CI 0.97-1.20). Upon stratified analysis, statin use was associated with a decreased cancer mortality only if the total cholesterol level decreased after the initiation of statin use (HR 0.66; 95% CI 0.58-0.76). The inverse association between statin use and cancer mortality is limited to men with a reduction in total cholesterol level after the commencement of statins, i.e., statin use is associated with a lowered cancer mortality only if the total cholesterol level decreases. This suggests that the effect of statin use on cancer mortality relates to the decreased total cholesterol level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2920
JournalCancers
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • statins
  • cancer
  • cholesterol

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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