Anti-cholesterol statins don't reduce skin cancer: Study

Anti-cholesterol statins don't reduce skin cancer: Study

Despite earlier indications that people taking cholesterol-lowering statins might have a reduced risk of developing melanoma, a study of thousands of women found that the popular drugs do nothing to prevent the deadly skin cancer.

Evidence from experiments on cells and one trial in people had suggested some of the same properties of statins that protect against heart disease might also prevent melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer.

But researchers led by Michael Simon, at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, found no impact on melanoma in women who took the drugs, which include atorvastin and pravastatin, to lower their cholesterol.

"I don't think there's anything here that suggests statins may be protective for melanoma," Simon said.

The researchers, whose report was published in the journal Cancer, used data from the massive Women's Health Initiative study, which has tracked about 120,000 women for more than a decade.

They compared roughly 8,800 white women who took a statin medication to 111,000 white women who did not, finding 89 cases of melanoma among the statin users and 1,111 cases among the non-users doing a 12-year period.

That translated to identical rates of melanoma in each group, nine cases a year for every 10,000 women.

The results were the same no matter what type of statin the women took or how long they took it.

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