Statins Increase Breast Cancer Risk

mom and daughter smallTuesday July 9, 2013 ( — Statins help reduce the heart risk among those who have had a heart condition.  But a new study in Cancer Epidemiologu, Biamarkers& Prevention once again reminds women that long term use of statins can cause terminal diseases like breast cancer.


The study led by Jean A. McDougall from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA and colleagues shows that long term use of statins was associated with increased risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer among women 55-74 years of age.


Previous studies suggest that it is mechanistically plausible that statins provide chemoprotection against cancer. The current study was intended to examine the association between long term use of statins and the risk of breast cancer among older women because previous epidemiologic studies are inconsistent.

For the study, 916 invasive ductal breast cancer cases and 1068 invasive lobular breast cancer cases aged 55 to 74 years old who were diagnosed between 2000 and 2008 were compared with 902 control women.  Both cases and controls were interviewed in person and data on hypercholesterolemia and use of statins against the condition were collected through a questionnaire.


Women who had used statins for 10 or more years were 83 percent more likely to develop invasive ductal carcinoma (a type of breast cancer) and 97 percent more likely to be diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, compared with those who had never used any statins.


Among women who had hypercholesterolemia, current statin users who had been using any statins for 10 or more years increased their risk for invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma by 104% and 143% respectively, compared with non-users.


The researchers concluded “In this contemporary population-based case-control study long-term use of statins was associated with increased risks of both IDC and ILC (two types of breast cancer).” (reporting by David Liu, PHD)

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