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AACR: Statins Do Not Protect Against Colorectal Adenomas

Last Updated: April 19, 2010.

Statins do not appear to prevent colorectal cancer in high-risk individuals, and may actually increase the risk of developing colorectal adenomas, according to the results of a secondary analysis of the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 17 to 21 in Washington, D.C. To coincide with this presentation, the full study was published online April 19 in Cancer Prevention Research.

MONDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Statins do not appear to prevent colorectal cancer in high-risk individuals, and may actually increase the risk of developing colorectal adenomas, according to the results of a secondary analysis of the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 17 to 21 in Washington, D.C. To coincide with this presentation, the full study was published online April 19 in Cancer Prevention Research.

Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated whether statin use was associated with the development of recurrent colorectal adenomas after removal by colonoscopy. In the larger APC trial, the researchers had randomized 2,035 adenoma patients to receive either 200 mg of celecoxib twice daily, 400 mg of celecoxib twice daily, or placebo.

The researchers found that 36 percent of study participants used statins during the trial. Over a five-year period, in the placebo group, patients who used statins at any time had no benefit in tumor growth compared with those patients who never used statins. In patients who had used statins for over three years, the risk of developing recurrent colorectal adenomas increased over five years. For all comparisons of patients treated with celecoxib, colorectal adenoma detection rates for statin users and nonusers were equivalent. In addition, serious cardiovascular adverse events were more common among statin users.

"For patients at high risk of colorectal cancer, statins do not protect against colorectal neoplasms and may even increase the risk of developing colorectal adenomas," the authors write.

Celecoxib is marketed by Pfizer Inc. Three authors have received research funding from Pfizer, and another author is a Pfizer employee.

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