Women who take statins — cholesterol lowering drugs — may be at a lower risk of developing breast cancer and subsequent mortality, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found.
The findings showed that compared to those without high cholesterol, patients with high cholesterol had a 45 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer, and if they did develop breast cancer, a 40 per cent reduced chance of death. This gives a strong indication that statins produce this protective effect in breast cancer.
“Showing that patients with high cholesterol have a lower risk of developing breast cancer and subsequent mortality in a longitudinal study like this provides the strongest evidence for a protective effect, which is likely related to statins,” said Rahul Potluri, from the Aston University, in the UK.
“Statins have some of the best mortality evidence amongst all cardiovascular medications and their use in patients with a diagnosis of high cholesterol is likely the reason this diagnosis appears to be protective against the development of breast cancer and subsequent mortality,” added Paul Carter, from the varsity.
For the study, the team followed 1.22 million women aged 40 or more with, and without, a diagnosis of high cholesterol and compared the development of breast cancer and subsequent mortality rates in the two groups.
The results, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, confirms that women with a diagnosis of high cholesterol have strikingly lower rates of breast cancer with improved death rates and survival.
“Patients with breast cancer who have high cholesterol, people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and those with established cardiovascular disease should be given statins according to current guidelines,” Carter suggested.