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High Cholesterol Medications Linked to Increased Survival Rate of Four Common Cancers

Jul 11, 2016 11:52 PM EDT
Statin Linked to Lower Mortality Rates of Four Cancer types
A new study suggests that statins might reduce the risk of dying in patients with bowel, breast, prostate and lung cancer.
(Photo : Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that medications used for high cholesterols, such as statin, might reduce mortality and improves survival in the four most common type of cancer.

The study, presented at the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2016, showed that people who were diagnosed with high cholesterol were less likely to die from lung, prostate, breast and bowel cancer.

"The discovery of a link between obesity and high cholesterol as risk factors for cancer has been exciting for researchers and the public," said Dr Paul Carter from the ACALM Study Unit at Aston Medical School, Aston University in Birmingham, UK and lead author of the study in a statement. "Even trendier is the idea that if high cholesterol can cause cancer, then cholesterol lowering interventions such as statins could reduce this risk."

For the study, researchers analyzed data of 929 552 patients from the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of stay and Mortality (ACALM) clinical database. Out of the patients, 7997 had lung cancer, 5481 had breast cancer, 4629 had prostate cancer, and 4570 had bowel cancer.

The researchers then accounted other factors that might influence the risk of mortality, including age, gender, ethnicity, and the ten most common causes of death in the UK. After adjusting the factors, the researchers discovered that having diagnosed with high cholesterol is associated with a 22 percent lower mortality risk in patients with lung cancer, 43 percent in breast cancer, 47 percent in prostate cancer and 30 percent in bowel cancer.

Based on their findings, the researchers believe that it is highly possible that the medications used in controlling high cholesterol might be producing the lower mortality risk.

"Because we saw the association amongst all four cancers we studied, we think this effect is caused by medications used for high cholesterol such as statins. These findings are likely to be seen in other cancers as well but this is only speculation and would need to be confirmed by studies in different types of cancer," explained Dr. Carter in a press release.

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