Do statins to treat cholesterol help prevent tumors? – WWN

Do statins to treat cholesterol help prevent tumors? – WWN

Of Carmine Pinto

For now there is no scientific evidence to suggest that healthy people should be prescribed these drugs only for anti-cancer purposes, given that they can have side effects. The studies continue

I am 63 years old and have been taking a statin-based treatment for cholesterol for about ten years. The doctor told me that they could help and prevent cancer, so I wonder: is it worth my brother taking them too (two years younger, currently taking no therapy)?

He replies Carmine Pintodirector of Medical Oncology, AUSL-IRCCS of Reggio Emilia

The statinsreducing the synthesis of cholesterolare widely used to reduce blood values ​​with a proven benefit for cardiovascular diseases. In addition to the cardioprotective effect, statins have anti-inflammatory and also antiproliferative activity, suggesting a potential impact on cancer prevention. Initial studies appear to indicate a reduction in the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who have used statins for several years. Other research suggests a protective role of statins on the formation of biliary tract tumors (cholangiocarcinoma and carcinoma of the gallbladder) andhepatocarcinomain patients suffering from chronic hepatitis of both viral (HBC and HCV) and non-viral origin (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NASD).


A vast British investigation published a few days ago in the prestigious magazine Jama
then analyzed data relating to 1.7 million people and highlighted that those who take statins for several years actually have a lower risk of both developing liver cancer and dying from it. In particular, the danger appears lower in men, diabetics and those at genetic risk. However, this research also has important limitations regarding the method of evaluating statin intake and the selection of cases, which did not include, for example, a screening for liver disease. The conclusions of this study, like those of others previously, cannot therefore be considered conclusive.


What does it mean? Which, for now, There is no scientific evidence to suggest that healthy people (like your brother) should be prescribed statins only to prevent cancer., given that these drugs (like all others) can also have side effects. However, the results are considered so interesting as to suggest the need for further specific analyzes designed to evaluate this hypothesis. However, those who, like you, already take this treatment for other reasons probably benefit from it in addition to lowering cholesterol levels.. There is something very useful and at no cost that we can all do to prevent cancer, given that at least a third of cases are linked to lifestyle: maintaining a correct diet and carrying out regular physical activity, avoiding overweight and obesity, not smoking. and greatly limit alcohol consumption.

October 29, 2023 (modified October 29, 2023 | 08:08)

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