Health

Cholesterol-lowering drugs not tied to increased breast cancer risk

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 5, 2006

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Statins do not increase the risk of breast cancer, and some versions of these drugs might even decrease the risk of this disease, according to a study funded by the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last month. Some prior studies suggested that these drugs could increase the risk while others have not found this to be the case. This paper analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative on breast cancer risk factors and lipid-lowering medications. The risk of invasive breast cancer was the same whether the women took these drugs or not, although those who took hydrophobic statins had an 18% reduced risk.

"At a minimum, our findings suggest that women can now be reassured that they are not increasing their risk of developing breast cancer by taking these drugs," said Jane Cauley, DrPH, lead author and professor and vice chair for research in the department of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. "Although we found that women who took hydrophobic statins actually lowered their breast cancer risk, we believe this finding needs to be confirmed in additional studies."

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/06/05/hlbf0605.htm.

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