Statins and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of 18 studies involving more than 1.5 million patients.J Clin Oncol. 2007 Aug 10; 25(23):3462-8.JC
Statins have been suggested to prevent colorectal cancer. Several epidemiologic studies have evaluated this association, whereas randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on cardiovascular outcomes provide relevant data as a secondary end point. Our aim was to examine the strength of this association through a detailed meta-analysis of the studies published on the subject in peer-reviewed literature.
A comprehensive search for studies published up to December 2006 was performed, reviews of each study were conducted, and data were abstracted. Before meta-analysis, the studies were evaluated for publication bias and heterogeneity. Pooled relative risk (RR) estimates with 95% CIs were calculated using the fixed- and random-effects models.
Eighteen studies involving more than 1.5 million participants contributed to the analysis. They were grouped on the basis of study design, and separate meta-analyses were conducted. There was no evidence of an association between statin use and risk of colorectal cancer either among RCTs (RR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.80 to 1.13; n = 6) or among cohort studies (RR = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.11; n = 3). However, statin use was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer among case-control studies (RR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.96; n = 9). Low evidence of publication bias or heterogeneity was found.
Our meta-analysis results do not support the hypothesis that statins strongly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, when taken for management of hypercholesterolemia. However, we cannot rule out a modest reduction in risk or an effect associated with higher doses of statins.