Statin use following an ovarian cancer diagnosis is associated with improved survival in patients with the disease, according to a recent study published in PLOS One (online December 19, 2017; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0189233).
Previous studies have indicated that statins may exhibit anticancer properties in ovarian cancer. However, limited data is available on whether statin use is associated with improved survival in this patient population.
To explore this further, Alexandra Couttenier (Brussels, Belgium) and colleagues identified and evaluated 5416 patients with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer that had been diagnosed between 2004 and 2012. Of these, 1255 (23%) had at least one statin prescription within 3 years following ovarian cancer diagnosis. Patient data were obtained from the Belgian Cancer Registry.
The Crossroads Bank for Social Security and death certificates provided by regional administrations were used to assess vital statuses and ovarian cancer-specific deaths, respectively. Health insurance databases provided information on cancer treatments and statin use. Cox regression models were used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios in regard to the association between post-diagnostic statin exposure and overall or ovarian cancer-specific mortality within 3 years post-diagnosis.
Adjusted results of the study showed that post-diagnostic statin use was associated with a decreased risk of overall mortality (adjusted HR, 0.81). However, this association was only significant for simvastatin (adjusted HR, 0.86) or rosuvastatin (adjusted HR, 0.71).
In addition, findings of subgroup analyses by statin pre-diagnostic use indicated that the protective effect of post-diagnostic statin use only occurred in patients with pre-diagnostic statin use (adjusted HR 0.73).
The researchers noted that similar results occurred for ovarian cancer-specific mortality.
“In this large nation-wide cohort of ovarian cancer patients post-diagnostic use of statins was associated with improved survival,” the researchers concluded.—Christina Vogt