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Evidence that statins increase the risk of cancer, Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD and Kilmer McCully, MD
Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:31 am Email this article
There is strong evidence which suggests that statins do not lower the risk of cancer as has been claimed, but instead they increase the risk of cancer as described in an article titled ”Statins do not protect against cancer: quite the opposite” written by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, an independent researcher from Denmark; Paul Rosch, MD from New York Medical College and the American Institute of Stress; and Kilmer McCully, MD from Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
It is impossible to claim that statins protect against cancer with certain methods used because 75% of patients stopped taking a statin within 2-years
“To claim that statin treatment protects against cancer is therefore impossible with the method used by Caldwell et al [because in a Canadian study including more than 85,000 people given a statin to try and prevent their first heart attack, 75% of people given a statin had stop taking the drug at a 2-year follow-up],” Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, Paul Rosch, MD and Kilmer McCully, MD wrote.
At least 9 studies show that lower cholesterol levels are associated with higher rates of cancer
“At least nine studies have shown that cancer is associated with low cholesterol, measured 10 to more than 30 years before diagnosis.
Cancer mortality was 3X higher in people whose cholesterol levels were less than 160 mg/dL versus those with normal or high cholesterol levels
“[A study of more than 47,000 people given 5-10 mg of simvastatin daily found that,] after 6 years, cancer mortality was 3X higher in patients whose total cholesterol was less than 160 mg/dL compared with those whose cholesterol was normal or high.
Evidence that statins may cause cancer is even stronger
“In fact, evidence that statin treatment may cause cancer is much stronger.
Several statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs are carcinogenic
“Several cholesterol-lowering drugs, including statins, have been found to be carcinogenic in rodents in doses that produce blood concentrations of the drugs similar to those attained in treating patients.
12 times more breast cancer in women given a statin vs placebo in the CARE trial
“In accordance, breast cancer occurred in 12 of 286 women in the treatment group of the CARE (Cholesterol and Recurrent Events) trial, but only in one of 290 in the placebo group.
Cancer more common in elderly given a statin in the PROSPER trial (245 vs 199)
“In the PROSPER (Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk) trial, cancer occurred in 245 of 2,891 patients in the treatment group, but only in 199 of 2,913 in the placebo group.
Cancer more common in those given two cholesterol drugs in SEAS trial (39 vs 23)
“In the SEAS (Simvastatin and Ezetimibe in Aortic Stenosis) trial, cancer occurred in 39 of 944 patients in the treatment group, but only in 23 of 929 in the placebo group.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer occurred more often in first two simvastatin trials (256 vs 208)
“In the two first simvastatin trials, nonmelanoma skin cancer was seen more often as well, and with statistical significance if the results are calculated together (256 of 12,454 v 208 of 12,459).
The increase in statin use may explain the epidemic of nonmelanoma skin cancer
“The latter finding may explain the current so-called epidemic of nonmelanoma skin cancer.
People with cancer have been treated with statins more frequently than controls without cancer
“Several case-control studies have also shown that patients with cancer have been treated with statins significantly more frequently than controls without cancer matched for age and sex.
Women’s risk of breast cancer found to be 2X greater with 10 years of statin use
“Furthermore, a recent study showed that 10 years of statin therapy increased women’s risk of invasive ductal carcinoma by 83% and their risk of invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast by 97%.
Nonmelanoma skin cancers, the easiest cancers to detect early, have not been reported in any statin trial since 2002
“An apparent contradiction is that meta-analyses of the statin trials have found no increase of cancer.
“However, since the publication of the HPS (Heart Protection Study) trial, the number of nonmelanoma skin cancers—the easiest malignancies to detect early—has not been reported in any trial.
May take 10-20 years for cancer to show up, but most statin trials have been 5 years or less
“Furthermore, it may take 10 to 20 years before exposure to carcinogenic chemicals results in cancer.
“Bronchial cancer, for instance, does not appear until after 10 years of smoking, and the length of almost all the statin trials has only been 5 years at most.
Statins may increase cancer risk by lowering cholesterol levels
“As noted, it may be that statins per se are not carcinogenic but rather that this adverse effect [of increasing the risk of cancer] results from their ability to lower blood lipids.
LDL cholesterol binds to and inactivates bacteria and virus
“More than a dozen research groups have documented that lipoproteins, particularly LDL, partake in the immune system by binding and inactivating all kinds of microorganisms and their toxic products.
Some bacteria and viruses may be involved in some cancers
“Because certain microorganisms have been incriminated as a possible cause of different malignancies, including colorectal cancer, it is difficult to understand how lowering LDL cholesterol could prevent cancer.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that statins increase the risk of cancer
“Association never proves causation.
“Although it may be difficult to prove that statins can cause or prevent cancer, the preponderance of evidence favors the former [that statins can cause cancer].”
Ravnskov U, Rosch PJ, and McCully KS. Statins do not protect against cancer: quite the opposite. J Clin Oncol, 2015 Mar 1; 33(7): 810-811.
Their article is posted here.
Author’s Contact Info
Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
Paul Rosch, MD
American Institute Of Stress
124 Park Ave
Yonkers, NY 10703
Kilmer S. McCully, MD
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service
Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System
1400 Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway
West Roxbury, MA 02132, USA
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