Statin use and breast cancer survival: A nationwide cohort study from Finland

Teemu J. Murtola, Kala Visvanathan, Miia Artama, Harri Vainio, Eero Pukkala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies have suggested that statins, an established drug group in the prevention of cardiovascular mortality, could delay or prevent breast cancer recurrence but the effect on disease-specific mortality remains unclear. We evaluated risk of breast cancer death among statin users in a population-based cohort of breast cancer patients. The study cohort included all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in Finland during 1995-2003 (31,236 cases), identified from the Finnish Cancer Registry. Information on statin use before and after the diagnosis was obtained from a national prescription database. We used the Cox proportional hazards regression method to estimate mortality among statin users with statin use as time-dependent variable. A total of 4,151 participants had used statins. During the median follow-up of 3.25 years after the diagnosis (range 0.08-9.0 years) 6,011 participants died, of which 3,619 (60.2%) was due to breast cancer. After adjustment for age, tumor characteristics, and treatment selection, both post-diagnostic and pre-diagnostic statin use were associated with lowered risk of breast cancer death (HR 0.46, 95% CI 0.38-0.55 and HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.44-0.67, respectively). The risk decrease by post-diagnostic statin use was likely affected by healthy adherer bias; that is, the greater likelihood of dying cancer patients to discontinue statin use as the association was not clearly dose-dependent and observed already at low-dose/short-term use. The dose- and time-dependence of the survival benefit among pre-diagnostic statin users suggests a possible causal effect that should be evaluated further in a clinical trial testing statins' effect on survival in breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere110231
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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