Data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) demonstrates no decrease in colorectal cancer risk in postmenopausal women taking statins. These findings were recently presented at the Ninth Annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference.
Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs; they are the most commonly prescribed class of prescription drugs in the United States. Some studies have suggested that in addition to their cardiovascular effects, statins may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Recent evidence has suggested that statins may reduce the risk of recurrence among men who have undergone radiation therapy or radical prostatectomy for early prostate cancer., However, previous studies have demonstrated little evidence that statins reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.,
In the current study, researchers evaluated data from 159,219 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative cohort to determine statin use, statin type, and length of time taken as well as colorectal cancer incidence. Women in the study were followed for approximately 10 years and were postmenopausal between the ages of 50-79 at baseline. To determine statin use, participants were requested to bring all current medications to their screening interview and provide additional self-reported data on colorectal cancer risk factors. Roughly 8% of the women in the study used statins.
- The data demonstrated no link between statin use, statin dosage, or duration of statin use and the risk of developing colorectal cancer
These results suggest that statin use does not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Research continues to explore the relationship between statins and the incidence of various cancers.
 Simon MS, Rosenber CA, Rodabough RA, et al. Prospective analysis of the association between use of statins or other lipid-lowering agents and colorectal cancer risk. Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference. Philadelphia, PA. November 7-10. [Abstract A59]
 Hamilton RJ, Banez LL, Aronson WJ, et al. Statin Medication Use and the Risk of Biochemical Recurrence After Radical Prostatectomy: Results From the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) Database. Cancer [early online publication]. June 28, 2010.
 Gutt R, Tonlaar N, Kunnavakkam R, et al. Statin use and risk of prostate cancer recurrence in men treated with radiation therapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. April 26, 2010.
 Bonovas S, Filioussi K, Flordellis CS, Sitaras NM. Statins and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of 18 studies involving more than 1.5 million patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2007;25:3462-3468.