In a nutshell
This study aimed to look at how statin (a type of cholesterol-lowering medication) use affected the outcomes of patients with lung cancer. This study found that statin use was associated with significantly improved survival in these patients.
Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide. Surgical resection (removal of the tumor) with chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been the core components of treatment. Despite this the relapse rate is high. The 5-year survival rate is also poor at 50%.
Statins are drugs used to lower blood cholesterol levels. They have been used as a preventative treatment for heart disease. There has been recent work that has shown that statins have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. However, the role of statin use in lung cancer survival remains unclear.
Methods & findings
The authors of this study analyzed 13 other studies about the use of statins and lung cancer. Overall, they involved 99297 patients with lung cancer. The follow-up period in these studies ranged from 1.6-years to 5-years.
Statin exposure was associated with a 21% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality (ACM). Patients who used statins after the diagnosis of lung cancer had a significantly higher chance of a better survival (by 32%) than those who used them before diagnosis. Patients with stage 4 lung cancer benefited most from the use of statins (23% reduction in mortality) compared to mixed stage patients. Also, patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who used statins had a 26% improvement in survival compared to those who did not use these drugs.
In patients using statins, there was a 17% reduced risk of mortality due to lung cancer. Statin exposure was also associated with a 15% reduced risk of recurrence. The reduced risk of recurrence was similar in patients with stage 1-4 lung cancer.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that statin use was associated with improved outcomes for patients with lung cancer.
The fine print
This study should be read with caution as statins can be responsible for an increased risk of developing diabetes, increased liver enzymes and muscle-related symptoms. Most of the studies analyzed were observational or based on medical records. Patients were not randomly assigned to receive statins. Further controlled studies are needed.
If you are concerned about statin use, please discuss this with your doctor.
Published By :
Jan 11, 2019