(HealthDay News) — There is an inverse association between statin persistence and cancer risk, particularly for hematopoietic malignancies, according to a study published in the September issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Miriam Lutski, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues examined the association between persistent statin use and the risk of primary cancer using data from 202,648 enrollees (aged 21 or older) of a large health maintenance organization who purchased at least one pack of statin medication from 1998 to 2006.

The researchers found that 8,662 incident cancers were reported over the study period. After adjustment for potential confounders there was an inverse association between persistence with statin therapy and cancer risk, with the highest cancer risk observed among non-persistent statin users. For hematopoietic malignancies there was a strong negative association between persistence with statin therapy and cancer risk. Compared with patients in the lowest persistence level (≤12 percent), patients who took statins 86 percent or more of the follow-up time had a 31 percent reduced risk of hematopoietic malignancies.

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“In light of widespread statin consumption and the indications for long-term or lifelong use, the association between statin use and lower cancer risk may contribute to improved public health,” the authors write. “Additional controlled clinical trials are needed to investigate the potential anticancer benefit of statins, particularly in nonsolid tumors.”

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