Statins: Women with high cholesterol have lower rates of breast cancer

Women with high cholesterol have significantly lower rates of breast cancer and improved mortality, it has been revealed. According to a 14-year study in more than one million people, there is also evidence that statins are associated with lower rates of breast cancer and subsequent mortality. 

Researchers at the ACALM Study Unit at Aston Medical School, Aston University, UK, presented their results at ESC Congress earlier this month. They claimed that this is the most conclusive and direct evidence as yet to confirm the link between high cholesterol and breast cancer. 

The study analysed women aged 40 or more both with and without a diagnosis of high cholesterol. The researchers then compared the development of breast cancer and subsequent mortality rates in the two groups over a period of three years. 

After this they followed up for a new diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent mortality obtained from the Office for National Statistics. Analyses were performed to adjust for demographic and clinical characteristics between both of the groups.  

Rahul Potluri, senior author and founder of the study, commented: "We previously found an association between having high cholesterol and developing breast cancer so we designed this study to follow up patients longitudinally and address the relationship more robustly.

"Showing that patients with high cholesterol have a lower risk of developing breast cancer and subsequent mortality in a longitudinal study like this provides the strongest evidence for a protective effect, which is likely related to statins."

Of the 1,220,024 participants in the ACALM study, there were 16,043 women with high cholesterol aged 40 or over. They were compared to an equivalently sized and age-matched group of patients without high cholesterol. 

Those with high cholesterol were 45 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those without.

The researchers also found that patients who had developed breast cancer were 40 per cent less likely to die if they had high cholesterol than if they did not. ADNFCR-2094-ID-801839360-ADNFCR