Statins ‘increase breast cancer survival’: Cholesterol-lowering drugs may improve odds of overcoming aggressive disease by 58 percent, study suggests
- Researchers found ‘significant association’ between the drugs and survival rates
- Triple-negative breast cancer makes up 10 to 20% of breast cancer diagnoses
- Texas University analyzed data from more than 23,000 women over the age of 66
Taking statins after being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer increases survival by 58 percent, a study shows.
Researchers have found a “significant association” between taking the usual cholesterol-lowering drugs and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) survival rates.
TNBC makes up 10 to 20 percent of breast cancer diagnoses, with around 8,000 patients having it each year in the UK.
It has a poor prognosis and limited treatment options.
Researchers have found a ‘significant association’ between taking common cholesterol-lowering drugs and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) survival rates
A Texas University team analyzed data from more than 23,000 women over the age of 66 with TNBC. About 2,281 had taken statins within a year of their diagnosis.
The results, published in the journal Cancer, showed that three years later, this group was 58 percent more likely to survive.
Laboratory experiments have shown that statins stop the growth and division of cancer cells and boost the immune system.
Lead author Dr. Kevin Nead said: ‘There is already a lot of literature on statins and breast cancer and the results are inconsistent.
“In previous research, breast cancer was considered one disease, but we know that there are many subtypes of breast cancer.
“We wanted to focus our research on this particularly aggressive form of breast cancer with limited effective treatment options.”
TNBC makes up 10 to 20 per cent of breast cancer diagnoses, with around 8,000 patients having it each year in the UK
Statins, which cost just a few pence each, are used by six million Britons to reduce the risk of heart disease.
They could have a significant impact on outcomes for women with triple-negative breast cancer, Dr. Nead said.
“We know that statins reduce breast cancer cell division and increase cell death,” he added.
“Our study shows a link between statins and improved outcomes in triple-negative breast cancer, and it’s time to develop this idea further in a prospective study.”
TNBC claims the lives of around 1,650 women in Britain each year – the equivalent of one in ten breast cancer deaths.