EMR data determines statin use doesn't lead to cancer

The use of statins, a popular drug class in the U.S. prescribed for such conditions as atherosclerosis and various cardiovascular events, did not appear to increase the risk of cancer among patients, according to a retrospective study appearing this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that reviewed more than 11 million electronic medical records (EMRs).

To study any link between cancer and statin use, Claudio Marelli--of Cincinnati-based S2 Statistical Solutions--and colleagues conducted an analysis using records from January 1990 through February 2009, courtesy of GE Healthcare's Centricity EMR database. Clinical information for more than 30 million patients throughout the U.S. can be found in the database.

The researchers used "propensity-score methods," which help find pairs of patients receiving and not receiving statin therapy. In total, 45,857 patients were included in the study.

The patients included in the study had an average time in the database of approximately eight years. The average follow-up interval for patients administered a statin was 4.7 years, and 4.6 years for matched patients not taking statins.

Overall, statin users had a cancer incidence of 11.37 percent, compared with 11.11 percent for those matched patients not taking statins. The difference translated into a 4 percent cancer excess in the statin users--a nonsignificant amount, according to researchers.

Overall, the EMR database analysis of more than 91,000 U.S. adults demonstrated "no statistically significant increased risk of cancer associated with statins," the authors concluded.

For more information:
- check out the Journal of the American College of Cardiology study
- read the MedPage Today article
- see the Cardiovascular Business article