Statin eligibility points to increased cancer risk
medwireNews: Individuals eligible for statins according to the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACA/AHA) guidelines have a significantly increased risk for developing or dying of cancer compared with noneligible individuals, US researchers report.
Amit Pursnani (Northshore University Health System, Evanston, Illinois) and study co-authors say their findings suggest that “[s]hared risk profiles and potential benefits of statins between cancer and cardiovascular outcomes may provide a unique opportunity to improve population health.”
They report that, at a median 10 years of follow-up, incident cancer had been diagnosed in 11.2% of 2196 statin-naïve individuals (mean age 50.5 years, 55% women) from the offspring and third-generation cohorts of the community-based longitudinal Framingham Heart Study.
The risk for cancer was a significant 80% higher among the 812 statin-eligible participants, with an incidence of 15.4%, than among the 1384 noneligible participants, at 8.8%.
Individuals eligible for statins, the guidelines for which are mainly based on a composite cardiovascular risk profile, rather than cholesterol level thresholds, also had a significant 12.1-fold increased risk for cancer mortality (4.2 vs 0.4%) and a 10.1-fold increased risk for noncardiovascular mortality (6.0 vs 0.7%) compared with those not eligible.
And when Pursnani and team stratified their data by age, body mass index, and smoking status, they observed similar results.
This “suggests that the association of cardiovascular risk with noncardiovascular outcomes is not driven by any one common causative risk factor in both cancer and [cardiovascular disease], but rather by the complex interplay of the several risk components that form the basis for determining statin eligibility, including age, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status, and diabetes,” they write in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The researchers add: “The most important conclusion of our data is that there is an opportunity to improve public health awareness of shared risk factors for cardiovascular and cancer outcomes.
“If statin eligibility is, as our data suggest, not only an indicator of a higher risk of [atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease] but also of cancer incidence and mortality, the ACC/AHA guidelines present a unique and simple platform for identifying a cohort that is at a higher risk of cancer and cancer-related death,” they conclude.
By Laura Cowen
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