In a nutshell
The study evaluated the link between statin (cholesterol-lowering drugs) use and risks of breast cancer (BC) relapse under adjuvant aromatase inhibitors (AI) therapy in women after their menopause. The main finding was that statin use was related with lower risks of BC relapse in such patients.
Women with breast cancer may take hormonal therapy such as AI. This includes drugs such as anastrozole (Arimidex), letrozole (Femara), or exemestane (Aromasin). AIs reduce estrogen production. This prevents cancer from growing. Many women after menopause have high cholesterol levels. Statin drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) or rosuvastatin (Crestor) lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is also the source of the estrogen hormone. Some studies suggested a link between statin use and decreased risks of BC relapse.
However, the real relationship between statin use in women with BC taking AIs are still unknown.
Methods & findings
The study included 14,773 postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive BC. All patients received AIs. The average follow-up time was 4.5 years. Statins were used by 1727 patients after BC diagnosis.
After 5 years of follow-up, patients with statin use had 28% lower risks of BC recurrence compared to the ones who have never used statins. Lipophilic statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), are soluble in fats and can reach the brain. Patients who have taken such statins had a 30% lower risk of BC recurrence. Patients filled 2 statin prescriptions had 25% lower risks of BC recurrence compared to patients who did not. However, this was not seen for water-soluble statins, such as pravastatin (Pravachol).
The bottom line
The authors concluded that statin use was linked to reduced risks of BC recurrence in postmenopausal women with breast cancer under AI therapy.
The fine print
This study was conducted on Danish patients only. Further studies are needed in other populations.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Jun 22, 2020
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