Statins could be an effective agent for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.1

“Small cell lung cancer is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, and yet in nearly 3 decades, no new classes of treatments have been adopted as new benchmarks for standard therapy,” said lead author Glen Weiss, MD, MBA, director of Clinical Research and medical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers for America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, Arizona. “Our study showed that statins appear to provide a statistically significant survival benefit among patients with metastatic SCLC.”

For the retrospective study, researchers sought to evaluate whether use of statins, aspirin, clomipramine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or doxazosin or prazosin are associated with a survival benefit in patients with small cell lung cancer. Researchers analyzed data from 876 patients with pathologically confirmed, stage 4 small cell lung cancer.

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Results showed that there was a statistically significant improvement in median overall survival in statin-treated patients compared with those who received none of the studied medications (8.4 months vs 6.1 months; P=.002).

Researchers observed no association between administration of SSRIs, aspirin, or doxazosin or prazosin and overall survival.

The study also demonstrated that age, ECOG performance status, and radiotherapy were independent survival predictors.

“Our data demonstrated that radiotherapy appears to be an independent survival predictor in stage 4 SCLC, thereby confirming the results of other prospective and retrospective studies,” Weiss said.


1. International CTCA study shows statins could be effective against small cell lung cancer [news release]. EurekAlert! Web site. Posted January 6, 2016. Accessed January 7, 2016.