Postdiagnosis statin use cuts risk of death in hepatocellular carcinoma
Use of statins following diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) appears to confer survival advantage, a study reports.
Researchers looked at 15,422 patients with HCC in the VA Central Cancer Registry. They identified statin prescriptions filled prior to and after cancer diagnosis and used time-dependent Cox regression models to estimate mortality risk. Meanwhile, a time-varying exposure was applied to avoid immortal-time bias, with a 3-month lag (following patients from 3 months after cancer diagnosis) to reduce reverse causation.
Of the patients, 14.9 percent used statin following diagnosis. Postdiagnosis statin use was associated with a 15-percent reduction in the risk of cancer-specific mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.85; 95 percent CI, 0.77–0.93) and an 11-percent reduction in all-cause mortality (aHR, 0.89; 0.83–0.95).
The beneficial effect of postdiagnosis statin use on survival was consistent for HCC patients using both low- and high-dose statins and remained across a range of lag periods (0–12 months after HCC diagnosis).
There was no evidence for effect modification by prediagnosis statin use, presentation or treatment-related factors. Finally, prediagnosis statin use showed no association with mortality.
Statins have been reported to protect against the risk of developing HCC, researchers noted. The present data add to existing literature and suggest that the drug provides survival gains in HCC patients.