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Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study looked at whether patients who receive statins and develop primary inflammatory breast cancer enjoy a better outcome.

Some background

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a disease in which breast cells grow in an uncontrolled manner, and inflammation develops in part of the breast. Recently, researchers investigated the helpfulness of drugs with anti-inflammatory properties in the treatment of IBC. Statins are drugs usually used for treating high cholesterol, but also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Two main types of statins reviewed in this study were H-type, like atorvastatin (lipitor), and L-type, like simvastatin (zocor).

Methods & findings

This study looked at 723 patients with IBC, and 73 of these reported regularly taking statins. H-type statin users were compared with L-type statin users and to patients who do not use statins. Progression free survival (PFS), meaning the time until the cancer advances, was compared between users. Overall survival (OS) and disease specific survival (DSS), referring to the rate of patients that survive this specific disease, were also reviewed.

Results showed that patients who used H-type statins, but not L-type statins, had improved PFS versus non-statin users. PFS for H-type statin users was 4.9 years compared to 1.8 years in non-statin users. DSS and OS were unaffected by statin use. Statin use of any kind was associated with a 37% reduction in cancer recurrence.

The bottom line

H-type statin use may increase progression free survival time and reduce cancer recurrence in patients with IBC.

The fine print

This study relayed on patient reported use of statins, rather than reviewing the effect of the drug by assigning it to patients in a controlled manner. In addition, the group of statin users in this study was very small compared to non-statin users.

What’s next?

Consult with your physician on the use of statins to improve outcome with inflammatory breast cancer.

Published By :

British Journal of Cancer

Date :

Jul 02, 2013

Original Title :

Statin use in primary inflammatory breast cancer: a cohort study.

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