HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors

Cancer incidence is lower in patients taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors than in patients taking bile acid sequestrants.

August 16, 2000

NEW YORK, August 15 (Praxis Press). Animal studies and some cohort studies in humans have raised concerns about the carcinogenicity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, and the results of clinical trials are inconclusive. Blais and colleagues compared the incidence of cancer in 6,721 patients age 65 years or older taking either HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or bile acid-binding resins. With a median follow-up of 2.7 years, 542 patients in the cohort developed first malignancies. When compared with patients taking bile acid-binding resins, patients taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors were 28% less likely to be diagnosed with any cancers. With the exception of lymphoma, use of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors was not associated or was inversely associated with the incidence of site-specific cancers. These findings support the safety of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and suggest that these drugs may even protect against certain cancers.

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