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Statins have no effect on the incidence of or mortality from cancer


There were concerns, derived in part from observational data and partly from pre-statin lipid-lowering intervention trials, that lowering cholesterol might increase the risk of cancer. The CTT Collaboration conducted meta-analyses of combined data from large randomized controlled trials of statin therapy to address this uncertainty.


Individual participant data meta-analyses from randomized trials of statin therapy were performed. Initial analyses included 14 trials of statin versus control (involving approximately 90,000 individuals) with subsequent analyses including a total of >20 trials of statin versus control (involving approximately 135,000 individuals). Median follow-up was approximately 5 years.


  • Reducing LDL cholesterol with a statin for about 5 years had no effect on newly diagnosed cancer or on death from such cancers in either the trials of statin versus control or in the trials of more versus less statin. 
  • No evidence of any effect of reducing LDL cholesterol with statin therapy on cancer incidence or mortality at any of 23 individual categories of sites, with increasing years of treatment, for any individual statin, or in any given subgroup. In particular, among individuals with low baseline LDL cholesterol (<2 mmol/L), there was no evidence that further LDL cholesterol reduction (from about 1.7 to 1.3 mmol/L) increased cancer risk.
  • No adverse effect on rates of cancer incidence noted for either sex.