Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds association between low cholesterol levels and cancer

24.07.2007
Benefits of statin therapy outweigh potential small risk

Millions of Americans take statins to lower their cholesterol, but how low should you go" Many scientific studies support the benefits of lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and achieving low LDL cholesterol levels is one of the most important steps in preventing heart disease. New research, however, provides evidence for an association between low LDL levels and cancer risk.

The authors of the study, published in the July 31, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), set out to understand how and why statins cause side effects, particularly damage to the liver and muscle cells. The study findings support taking multiple medications rather than high-dose statins to minimize those side effects. The researchers did not expect to find the increased cancer risk (one additional incident per 1,000 patients) from low LDL levels, and additional studies have already begun to investigate this potential risk further. A key component in future studies will be to confirm the risk and to identify whether the risk may be a side effect of statins or just low LDL.

“This analysis doesn’t implicate the statin in increasing the risk of cancer,” said lead author Richard H. Karas, M.D., F.A.C.C., professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. “The demonstrated benefits of statins in lowering the risk of heart disease remain clear; however, certain aspects of lowering LDL with statins remain controversial and merit further research.”

The researchers found one additional incident of cancer per 1,000 patients with low LDL levels when compared to patients with higher LDL levels. In their evaluation of randomized controlled statin trials published before November 2005, the researchers looked at 13 treatment arms consisting of 41,173 patients.

Researchers assessed absolute change and percentage of change in LDL reduction and the resulting achieved LDL levels in relation to rates of newly diagnosed cancer in each treatment arm. They also looked at the relationship between low, intermediate and high doses of statins and rates of newly diagnosed cancer. Although they did not find a relationship between percent of change and absolute change in LDL levels, they observed higher rates of newly diagnosed cancer among patients with lower achieved LDL levels. In addition, the new cancers were not of any specific type or location.

Recent data from large-scale statin trials have shown that more intensive LDL lowering can provide significant cardiovascular benefits to higher-risk patients. In response to these findings, recent national guidelines have advocated for lower LDL goals and higher doses of statins to reach them. However, informal observations linking intensive LDL lowering and higher incidence of reported health problems, including liver and muscle toxicity and cancer, has introduced some concern over the safety of such treatments.

These concerns in part prompted the current study. However, the current findings are not definitive, as limitations of the study show. Researchers performed their analysis from summary data taken directly from published manuscripts of each trial. An analysis based on data for each individual patient would have yielded more specific and potentially more compelling results, said Dr. Karas.

“These current findings provide insufficient evidence that there is any problem with LDL lowering that outweighs its significant benefits on vascular disease,” said John C. La Rosa, M.D., who wrote an accompanying editorial in the July 31 issue of JACC. However, “we must continue to be vigilant in ensuring that its benefit clearly outweighs its risk.”

Although the cancer risk was surprising, the researchers primarily sought to determine how and why statins cause side effects, particularly damage to the liver and muscle cells. For this portion of the study, researchers analyzed 23 statin treatment arms that included 75,317 patients with a combined 309,506 years of follow up. A link between LDL lowering and liver or muscle irritation was not found. However, liver toxicity levels increased with higher statin dosage. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that moderate-dose therapy with multiple medications including statins may prove to be preferable to high-dose therapy with statins alone. Dr. Karas emphasized that patients are advised to continue their statin treatments and, as always, consult their doctor before discontinuing use of any medication.

“While these results raise important new questions about statin use, they do not demonstrate a causal relationship between statins and cancer,” said James Dove, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the American College of Cardiology. “This study is hypothesis-generating, not hypothesis-proving.”

Amy Murphy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acc.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>