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Statins May Cut Liver Cancer and Cholecystectomy Risks

Last Updated: May 21, 2009.

Statin use is associated with reduced risk for cholecystectomy and for liver cancer, according to two studies published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.


Studies in nurses and veterans compared statins against nonstatin cholesterol-lowering drugs

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THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Statin use is associated with reduced risk for cholecystectomy and for liver cancer, according to two studies published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

In the first study, Chung-Jyi Tsai, M.D., of the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, and colleagues analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study related to statin use, gallstone disease and cholecystectomy. There were 2,479 cases of cholecystectomy during 305,197 person-years follow-up among statin users, representing a relative risk of cholecystectomy of 0.82. There were 3,420 cases of cholecystectomy during 511,411 person-years follow-up among users of general cholesterol-lowering drugs, representing a cholecystectomy relative risk of 0.88.

In the other study, Hashem B. El-Serag, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues assembled data on veterans diagnosed with diabetes from 1997 to 2002. The group was analyzed for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at least six months after joining the diabetes cohort, and a control group with no HCC diagnosis was identified by incidence density sampling. The researchers found no significant associations between HCC and nonstatin cholesterol- or triglyceride-lowering medications, but among statin users, the HCC unadjusted odds ratio was 0.46 and the adjusted odds ratio was 0.74.

"In conclusion, this large, nested, matched, case-control study in patients with diabetes provides the first indication of a cancer-preventive effect for statins specific to HCC. These findings need to be confirmed in future studies," El-Serag and colleagues write.

Abstract - Tsai
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Abstract - El-Serag
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