Statins May Reduce Liver Cancer Risks

Liver cancer is less prevalent when you take statins

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Statins have been around for years to help lower cholesterol. Research has suggested that these medicines may help prevent cancer. A new study supports the mounting evidence.

A large study reviewing other studies (meta-analysis) has found that people who take statins are less likely to develop liver cancer than people who don’t take the drugs.

Statin users saw the biggest risk declines for the most common form of this disease - hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

"Get tested for Hepatitis C if you’re over 50."

Siddharth Singh, MD, of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic, led the study. He and his colleagues reviewed randomized controlled trials and observational studies involving nearly 1.5 million people.

The researchers analyzed ten studies, which included some 4,300 cases of HCC in 1,459,417 patients.

Statin use was associated with a statistically significant 37 percent overall reduction in the incidence of HCC. These rates varied among different populations. In Asian patients, the use of statins decreased HCC risk by 48 percent, while in western populations, the risk reduction was 33 percent.

“Based on meta-analysis, statin use is associated with a reduced risk of HCC, most strongly in Asian but also in Western populations. Randomized clinical trials in populations at high risk for HCC (especially in Asian populations with hepatitis B) are warranted,” the authors wrote.

Statins are sold under a variety of brand names, including: Crestor, Lipitor, Vytorin and Zocor.

Liver cancer is diagnosed in about 30,500 Americans every year.

This study was published in the February issue of Gastroenterology. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 18, 2013
Last Updated:
February 20, 2013