A study led by researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has found “a significant relationship” between cholesterol-lowering drugs, commonly known as statins, and survival rates in cancer patients triple negative breast.
This is not the first time that a study has linked statins and cancer; The work now published in the journal Cancer, the results of which require further investigation, expands the knowledge, in particular, on the relationship between the use of these drugs and triple negative breast cancer.
According to its authors, it is the first “with adequate potential” to investigate the link between statins and aggressive breast cancer subtypes.
Kevin Nead, who led this research, explains in a note that there is already a body of literature on statins and breast cancer, but “the results have been inconsistent.”
In his view, previous research has considered breast cancer as a single disease, but “we know that there are many subtypes of breast cancer and we wanted to focus our research on this particularly aggressive form of breast cancer that has limited effective treatment options. “.
Since statins are inexpensive, easily accessible, and produce minimal side effects, “this could have a major impact on the outcomes of this aggressive disease,” the authors note, although they caution that prospective trials are still needed to validate the findings. results.
Between 10 and 20% of breast cancer diagnoses
Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive disease that accounts for approximately 10% to 20% of breast cancer diagnoses.
Triple negative means that the breast cancer does not have estrogen or progesterone receptors or HER2 positivity, which are the three most common receptors for this disease.
This combination results in aggressive breast cancer with limited treatment options, as there are few recipients to actively target with existing therapies, the University of Texas statement details.
The retrospective study included data from 23,192 women older than 66 years with stage I-III breast cancer; of that cohort, 2,281 were incidental statin users, meaning they started taking them within the year after breast cancer diagnosis.
Statin treatment initiation within 12 months of breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a benefit in overall survival and in breast cancer-specific survival, suggesting that these drugs may play a role in certain patients with this pathology.
Analysis by stage of breast cancer suggested that the association of incidental statin use with improved outcomes may be greater in early-stage triple-negative women.
When statin intensity was examined, high intensity statin use had the greatest effect on overall survival among women with this cancer.
“We know that statins decrease breast cancer cell division and increase cell death,” says Nead: “Our study shows that there is an association between these and improved outcomes in triple negative cancer, and the time has come. to delve into this idea in a prospective trial “