Oesophageal cancer: does statin use help after diagnosis?

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  • Statin use may reduce oesophageal cancer-specific mortality after diagnosis, but the quality of evidence is low.

Why this matters

  • Evidence from cell lines and animal models suggest that statin has anti-tumour properties.
  • Statins inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in oesophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines which reveals their anti-tumour properties.

Study design

  • This cohort study evaluated 1921 patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer between 2009 and 2012.
  • This study used a time varying covariate analysis, and the patients were considered at first as non-users and then after 6 mo as users.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Mean follow-up duration was 2 y.
  • Statin use showed little evidence in the reduction of oesophageal cancer-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.81-1.07) and dose-response association identified from the number of prescriptions.
  • Statin users showed a 12% reduction in the rate of oesophageal cancer-specific mortality before diagnosis (adjusted HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.79-0.99) vs statin non-users.
  • Association between statin and oesophageal cancer was seen when no lag (adjusted HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.61-0.76) or a 3-mo lag (adjusted HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90) was used.


  • Study had a lag of 6 mo.