Study: Cholesterol drugs are expected to reduce cancer mortality
With high cholesterol levels, patients are usually advised to change their diet. If this is not enough, cholesterol-lowering drugs are often prescribed. These apparently have another positive effect: According to a new study, they could reduce cancer mortality.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs could lower cancer mortality
Around one in three Germans have high cholesterol. An elevated cholesterol level can lead to diseases of the vessels, with possible consequences such as a heart attack or stroke. In order to lower the level, a change in diet is usually recommended. However, according to many health experts, the many years of warnings about eggs and butter no longer apply here. Cholesterol-lowering drugs are also often used. However, some experts believe that they do more harm than good because they can cause muscle problems and increase the risk of diabetes. However, one study now reveals completely different - positive - effects of such drugs. British researchers say cholesterol-lowering drugs could lower cancer mortality.
Huge observational study with almost a million participants
According to a large observational study from Great Britain with almost 930,000 patients, cardiovascular medications, most likely the cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), are likely to have a positive effect on cancer mortality. The investigation included the most common cancers, such as lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer. The results of the study by the research team led by Dr. Paul Carter of the Aston Medical School in Birmingham at a conference of the European Cardiology Society (ESC) in Florence (Italy).
Obesity and high cholesterol increase cancer risk
As the internet portal "medicalxpress.com" reports, Dr. Carter: "The discovery of the link between being overweight and high cholesterol as risk factors for cancer was exciting for researchers and the general public." Reduce risk. ”Of the 929,552 patients in the study, 7,997 had lung cancer, 5,481 women had breast cancer, 4,629 had prostate cancer, and 4,570 had colon cancer. Elevated cholesterol levels are said to be associated with a 22 percent lower risk of lung cancer death. According to the scientists, the death rate for breast cancer was 43 percent lower, for prostate cancer the mortality rate was reduced by 47 percent and for colon cancer by 30 percent.
Not all patients can take the medication
"The scale is remarkable," said Dr. Carter. “Our research suggests that anything related to diagnosing elevated blood lipid levels increases the likelihood of cancer survival. The extent is striking for the four cancers. Based on previous research, there is a high probability that statins produce this effect. ”Statins have been used to treat excessive cholesterol for decades. Lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and its complications. However, not all patients can take such drugs. Researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently reported evidence of statin intolerance. Among other things, those affected experience severe muscle pain and cramps.
Aspirin is said to protect against cancer
According to experts, the effect of the drugs on the cardiovascular system cannot be explained solely by lowering cholesterol. Statins are also anti-inflammatory. An older study with statin users showed a significantly lower overall mortality and also specific cancer mortality. In addition, scientists from the General Hospital of the City of Vienna (AKH) showed that cancer patients who regularly took statins have a risk of thrombosis-embolism that is almost 60 percent lower. It is known that cancer patients are often affected by embolism. The authors of the current study advocate a large scientific study to study more closely the effect of drugs commonly used to treat cardiovascular diseases on cancer mortality. These include, for example, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and also aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid / ASA). Numerous studies have indicated that aspirin should protect against cancer. Scientists from the Netherlands also reported an investigation that prolonged aspirin use doubled the survival rate in colorectal cancer. (ad)