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Researchers Find Statins May Protect Against Esophageal Cancer

October 22, 2012

Statin use is associated with protection from esophagus cancer according to a new meta-analysis of existing clinical studies exploring the cancer prevention effects of statins presented by a Mayo Clinic researcher, Dr. Siddharth Singh, at the American College of Gastroenterology 77th Annual Scientific Meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

Dr. Singh and his Mayo colleagues conducted a systematic review of eleven studies reporting 8,613 cases of esophageal cancer from studies including almost 1 million patients. Incidence of esophageal cancer is increasing in the United States, especially esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.

“The meta-analysis of these studies showed a significant 30 percent reduction in esophageal cancer incidence with statins use,” said Dr. Singh.

When looking more closely at the seven highest-quality observational studies among the eleven, researchers continued to find a significant chemo-protective effect with statin use. An analysis of a subset of patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-malignant condition associated with chronic acid reflux, revealed that, in this higher risk population, statin use was associated with a significant 41 percent decrease in the risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

Bone-Building Drugs for Osteoporosis Do Not Add to Risk of Esophagus Cancer

In a separate study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville found no association between oral use of bisphosphonates, a class of bone-building drugs widely used for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and the risk of esophageal cancer. This meta-analysis of 42 studies included 3,570 esophageal cancer patients in the analysis by Dr. Saowanee Ngamruengphong and collegauges.

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