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Statin Therapy and Improved Survival in Some Ovarian Cancer Patients

(September 2, 2014) New research by researchers at the University of Chicago, including OCRF grantee and Scientific Advisory Committee member Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD, investigated whether statin use is associated with improved epithelial ovarian cancer (OvCa) survival.  The findings were published this month in PLoS One.

The use of statins to lower cholesterol as a means to prevent cardiovascular disease is common in the US. Evidence has also shown that statins may safeguard against cancer, as well as provide expected cardio-protective effects. In epidemiologic studies, a decrease in cancer incidence has been reported among statin users, and statin use is also associated with improved cancer survival.

Researchers at the University of Chicago retrospectively looked at 442 patients who had high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) and used statins. The primary outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS) and disease-specific survival (DSS). The cohort was divided into three groups: patients with hyperlipidemia who used statins, patients with hyperlipidemia who did not use statins, and patients without hyperlipidemia. After evaluating outcomes for ovarian cancer, the researchers found no significant differences in PFS or DSS among the groups.

However, a secondary analysis revealed that, among patients with non-serous-papillary subtypes of OvCa, statin use was associated with a decrease in risk of both disease recurrence and disease-specific death. The researchers conclude that statin use among patients with non-serous-papillary OvCa was associated with improvement in both PFS and DSS.

Larger epidemiologic studies and further pre-clinical testing are required to identify the molecular mechanisms of action mediating the anti-cancer effects of statins before researchers can begin a prospective study of statins and ovarian cancer.

Read the full text of the article here.