(HealthDay News) — For cardiac patients with thorax and head or neck cancer, statin use after radiation therapy is associated with a significant reduction in stroke incidence and a trend toward reduced cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, according to a study published online June 19 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Jacinthe Boulet, M.D., from McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 5,718 cardiac patients with thorax and head or neck cancer who had undergone radiotherapy between 2000 and 2011 (1,552 nonstatin users and 4,166 statin users). The primary outcome of interest was a composite of cerebrovascular or cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that the crude event rate was 10.31 and 9.03 percent for nonusers and statin users, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.76 to 1.10; P = 0.3451). Statin use postradiotherapy correlated with a nonsignificant relative risk reduction but a strong trend toward reducing the primary outcome after adjustment for multiple variables (hazard ratio, 0.85; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.69 to 1.04; P = 0.0811). For the outcome of stroke incidence alone, the use of statins was associated with a significant reduction (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.48 to 0.98; P = 0.0368).

“Our study demonstrated that statin therapy could be favorable even with the competing risks of cancer and cancer-related mortality in patients who received radiation therapy,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text