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Selected research from leading health care experts whose findings have a direct bearing on public policies effecting medical progress. Research is chosen based on its quality and relevance by the Medical Progress Today editorial staff.

Selected Research

Statins and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer
New England Journal of Medicine, 5-26-05

Anecdotal evidence—primarily through the retrospective study of patients on statins—continues to suggest they may inhibit the growth of certain cancers.

The Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer study is a population-based case–control study of patients who received a diagnosis of colorectal cancer in northern Israel between 1998 and 2004 and controls matched according to age, sex, clinic, and ethnic group. We used a structured interview to determine the use of statins in the two groups and verified self-reported statin use by examining prescription records in a subgroup of patients for whom prescription records were available.
In analyses including 1953 patients with colorectal cancer and 2015 controls, the use of statins for at least five years (vs. the nonuse of statins) was associated with a significantly reduced relative risk of colorectal cancer (odds ratio, 0.50; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.40 to 0.63). This association remained significant after adjustment for the use or nonuse of aspirin or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs; the presence or absence of physical activity, hypercholesterolemia, and a family history of colorectal cancer; ethnic group; and level of vegetable consumption…

The researchers conclude that statin use “was associated with a 47 percent relative reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer after adjustment for other known risk factors,” and call for further study.



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