May 28, 2024

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Statins linked to lower cancer risk in ulcerative colitis patients

Statins linked to lower cancer risk in ulcerative colitis patients



 

Statins linked to lower cancer risk in ulcerative colitis patients.

A new study has found that taking statins, drugs that lower cholesterol, is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis.

The researchers say that statins are commonly prescribed drugs for heart health, and could also be used as cancer preventive drugs for inflammatory bowel disease.

 

Statins linked to lower cancer risk in ulcerative colitis patients.

 

 

Ulcerative colitis (UC) patients have a six-fold higher chance of developing some form of colorectal cancer than the general population. The main reason is inflammation.

Chronic inflammation damages the genetic material of the colon cells, causing mutations that could potentially turn into cancer.

It also increases the chances of viral and bacterial infections, which promote the growth of cancer cells.

 

Now, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have investigated whether statins, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for heart health, can protect UC patients from developing cancer.

UC belongs to the category of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which also includes Crohn’s disease and unclassified IBD (IBD-U). The researchers had previously found that statin use was associated with a lower risk of Crohn’s disease, but there was no conclusive human evidence on the potential protective effect of statins on colorectal cancer.

In the current study, the researchers compared 10,546 IBD patients, half of whom used statins and half did not. Most of the participants (69.9%) were diagnosed with UC. After a median follow-up of 5.6 years, 70 people in the statin group and 90 people in the non-statin group were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The researchers noted that the protective effect of statins was proportional to the length of time the patients took statins, and could be seen after two years of treatment. The number of people who died from colorectal cancer was also lower in the statin group (20) than in the non-statin group (37), as well as the number of people who died from any cause (529 versus 719). This protective effect was only statistically significant for patients with concomitant urinary stones.

“We think this is because there were fewer Crohn’s disease patients in the study,” said Jiangwei Sun, the first author of the study. “It may require more and larger studies, collecting data from patient populations from many countries, to reach statistical significance for Crohn’s disease.”

The researchers say that their study results provide solid evidence that statins can effectively prevent colorectal cancer in IBD patients, but they also acknowledge the need for more research.

Sun said: “More studies are needed to determine whether there is a causal relationship, at what stage of the pathological process statins should be taken, what is a reasonable dose, and how long treatment needs to last to benefit.”

The study was published in the journal eClinical Medicine.

 

 

 

Statins linked to lower cancer risk in ulcerative colitis patients.

(source:internet, reference only)


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