Statins + Aspirin Cut Cancer Death Risks

Endometrial cancer patients who take statins and aspirin have reduced mortality risks

(RxWiki News) Statins are medications that help with high cholesterol. Along with pain relief, aspirin reduces inflammation. These two medications together may provide important benefits for women with endometrial cancer.

A recent study found that endometrial (lining of uterus) cancer patients who took both aspirin and statins saw a remarkable 84 percent reduced risk of dying from the cancer.

Those who took aspirin only had a 45 percent reduced mortality risk.

"Talk to your pharmacist about aspirin side effects."

Nicole Nevadunsky, MD, Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care gynecologic oncologist, led the study.

“This study is important to patients because it may help medical doctors to better understand how endometrial cancers form and grow on a molecular level,” Dr. Nevadunsky told dailyRx News.

The researchers examined and analyzed the records of 554 patients who were diagnosed with and treated for endometrial cancer between 2005 and 2009 at Montefiore Medical Center.

Of this group, 333 did not have high cholesterol, a condition known as hyperlipidemia, 165 women were taking statins, 68 women took both statins and aspirin and 56 patients had high cholesterol but weren’t taking medication.

The researchers found that in this group of patients being treated for endometrial cancer:

  • Patients with hyperlipidemia tended to have lower risks of dying than women without the condition, regardless of whether or not they were taking statins and/or aspirin.
  • Participants taking statins had a 45 percent lower risk of death compared to the patients who were not hyperlipidemic.
  • Women taking both statins and aspirin had an 84 reduced mortality risk compared with all other groups.

“We were pleased by these results and are continuing our efforts to understand the unexpected positive effects of these medications in endometrial cancer,” said Dr. Nevadunsky, who is assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

“Through this understanding we can develop new and innovative ways to prevent and treat these cancers, including previously unused types of medications and lifestyle modification,” she said.

"These findings add to an increasing number of reports that use of statins may be associated with improved cancer outcomes, Iris Romero, MD,  assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Chicago, told dailyRx News.

"In addition to epidemiologic studies like this report, there is an increasing number of laboratory based studies identifying novel molecular mechanisms by which statins inhibit important aspects of carcinogenesis. If commonly used drugs, such as statins, can be repurposed as cancer therapeutics, this would greatly impact the time and cost of new cancer drug development," said Dr. Romero, who was not involved in this study.

Dr. Nevadunsky concluded, “Given the clear association we saw between statin and aspirin use and improved cancer survival, further evaluation is warranted to help us better understand how these medications may improve survival in endometrial and other cancers.”

Statins are sold under a number of brand names, including Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor.

Findings from this study were presented at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. No conflicts of interest were reported by any of the authors.

All research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Review Date: 
June 3, 2013