Statins slash cancer deaths by 55 per cent say researchers hailing health breakthrough

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby



The US study shows the cholesterol-busting drug, which costs less than 10p a day, has and ‘amazing’ effect on survival rates in patients

Taking statins can increase the chance of patients surviving cancer by up to 55%, research suggests.

Experts believe the findings show a daily dose of the cholesterol-busting drug could be a major weapon in the war on the disease.

Ange Wang, who led one of the studies, said: “We’re very excited by these results.”

For common cancers such as breast, prostate, bowel and ovarian, the research found death rates were at least 40% lower among those taking statins.

When all cancers were taken into account, those patients on the drug were 20% less likely to die.

The biggest difference was the 55% reduction for bone cancer sufferers.

Professor Noel Clarke, of The Christie cancer centre in Manchester, said the research added weight to the case for taking statins.

He added: “The balance of evidence says that statins have an anti-cancer effect.”

The US studies did not show the drug prevents people getting the disease.

It is not known exactly why statins can help but cholesterol has been proven to fuel the spread of cancer.

Ms Wang’s team at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied 150,000 women.

An investigation by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey analysed death rates of 20,000 men with prostate cancer.

Lead researcher Dr Grace Lu-Yao described seeing the effect of statins as “amazing”.

The findings were presented in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Eight million people in Britain take statins, which are meant to ward off heart attacks and stroke, and cost less than 10p a day.

The growing use of the tablets has caused controversy, with arguments raging over possible side effects such as terrible muscle pain.