Statins do not increase cancer risk

Share this content:

The largest meta-analysis on statin side effects to date indicates that these widely used, cholesterol-lowering agents do not increase a person's risk of developing cancer.

To assess the comparative tolerability and harms of individual statins, a team led by Huseyin Naci, MHS, a research fellow in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, reviewed 135 trials involving a total of 246,955 persons with and without cardiovascular disease. The particular findings on cancer risk were based on a pairwise meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials including 100,523 participants.

Naci and colleagues learned that statins as a class were not significantly different than control treatment in terms of having a link to cancer development. Similarly, a related analysis uncovered no evidence that individual statins differed from control treatment on the basis of 5,511 cancer occurrences among 105,540 participants (5.2%). Finally, there was no evidence of potential head-to-head differences between individual statins.

As the investigators summarized in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, statins as a class overall had no statistically detectable effect on the development of cancer, myalgia, myopathy, or rhabdomyolysis, but were associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus and hepatic transaminase elevations.

You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs