In a nested-case control study of individuals living in the UK, a part of the world with a relatively low incidence of liver cancer, statin use is associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer, according to a new study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Previous studies have reported this association but most used data from individuals living in regions with a high liver cancer incidence rate, such as Asia. Katherine A. McGlynn, Ph.D., from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues analyzed data from the United Kingdom’s Clinical Practice Research Database and included 1195 liver cancer cases diagnosed between 1988 and 2011 and 4640 control patients. They found statin use was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer overall. This relationship was strongest among current users. Furthermore, the association was apparent regardless of whether persons had diabetes or liver disease but was stronger among those who had liver disease or diabetes.
The authors conclude, “the results of the current study suggest that use of statins among persons at high risk of developing liver cancer, even in low-risk settings, may have a net cancer protective effect.”