Effect of statin on cancer incidence: an umbrella systematic review and meta-analysis

Gwang Hun Jeong, Keum Hwa Lee, Jong Yeob Kim, Michael Eisenhut, Andreas Kronbichler, Hans J. van der Vliet, Sung Hwi Hong, Jae Il Shin, Gabriele Gamerith

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Statins are reported to reduce the risk of cancer, but the results of various published studies have been contradictory. We carried out an umbrella review to provide an overview and understand the strength of evidence, extent of potential biases, and validity of claimed associations between the use of statins and cancer incidence. We comprehensively re-analyzed the data of metaanalyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies on associations between statin use and cancer incidence. We also assessed the strength of evidence of the re-analyzed outcomes, which were determined from the criteria including statistical significance of the p-value of random-effects, as well as fixed-effects meta-analyses, small study effects, between-study heterogeneity, and a 95% prediction interval. Using a conventional method to assess the significance of meta-analysis (p-value < 0.05), statins had a statistically significant effect on reducing cancer incidence in 10 of 18 types of cancer. When we graded the level of evidence, no cancer type showed convincing evidence, and four cancers (esophageal cancer, hematological cancer, leukemia, and liver cancer) showed suggestive evidence of a preventive effect. There was weak evidence of an association with six cancers, and no significance for the remaining eight cancers. None of the metaanalyses of RCTs on the association of statin and cancer incidence showed a statistical significance. Although there was a preventive effect of statin on cancer incidence in 10 of the 18 cancer types, the evidence supporting the use of statins to reduce cancer incidence was low. Therefore, the associations between statin use and cancer incidence should be carefully considered by clinicians.
Original languageEnglish
Article number819
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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