Statin use and liver cancer risk: what’s the association?

  • Tran KT & al.
  • Int J Cancer
  • 21 May 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Findings using data from 2 large independent population‐based studies suggest that statin use is associated with reduced risk for primary liver cancer.
  • This inverse association was only evident for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and not intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma (IBDC) in the UK Biobank analysis.

Why this matters

  • Epidemiological studies examining the association of statin use and the risk for liver cancer have shown conflicting results.

Study design

  • Study evaluated the association between the use of statins and the risk for primary liver cancer using data from 2 well-designed, large independent data sets from the UK (Scottish Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit [PCCIU] database and the UK Biobank).
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • PCCIU case-control analysis:
    • 434 liver cancer cases were matched to 2103 control participants.
    • The risk for liver cancer was 39% lower with statin use over a median exposure period of 4.8 years (adjusted OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.43-0.87).
  • Prospective cohort study within the UK Biobank:
    • Among 471,851 participants, 182 participants developed incident liver cancer (HCC, 88; IBDC, 72 cases) over a median follow-up of 4.6 years.
    • Statin use was associated with 36% lower risk for liver cancer (adjusted HR [aHR], 0.64; 95% CI, 0.39-1.07).
    • The reduction in risk was most marked for HCC (aHR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.24-0.94) but not for IBDC (aHR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.45-2.64).

 Limitations

  • Risk of confounders.

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