Meta-analysis suggests patients taking statins less likely to develop HCC.

Patients taking statins may be at a reduced risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma compared with nonusers, according to data presented at The Liver Meeting.

Researchers performed a systematic review of 10 studies including 4,298 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) out of 1.459 million people. All incorporated studies were collected from Medline, Embase and Web of Science and dated through May 2012. They assessed patients’ statin exposure and HCC incidence rates and either calculated ORs or RRs for the association between the two, or included sufficient data for estimation.

Across the studies, patients taking statins were at reduced risk for HCC (adjusted OR=0.63; 95% CI, 0.52-0.76 compared with nonusers). Four studies evaluated an Asian population while six encompassed a Western population, and the association between statin use and HCC risk was found to be more pronounced among the Asians (adjusted OR=0.52; 95% CI, 0.42-0.64 among Asian studies; aOR=0.67; 95% CI, 0.53-0.85 for Western studies).

Seven of the studies were observational (aOR=0.60; 95% CI, 0.49-0.73) and three were clinical trials (aOR=0.95; 95% CI, 0.62-1.45). Investigators noted significant heterogeneity among the studies (I2=59%; P=.01), and cited study location and design as possible explanations. No publication bias was observed.

“It’s clearly known that statins do not necessarily worsen liver function; multiple studies have shown that statins are not bad for the liver,” researcher Siddharth Singh, MBBS, a gastroenterology and hepatology fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told “Patients with cirrhosis, [nonalcoholic steatohepatitis] or chronic HBV, if they’re on statins for other indications … prevention of heart disease or improving cholesterol levels, then we should not stop it. It may actually be preventing the development of liver cancer in those patients.”

The investigators concluded that further study was warranted, in the form of randomized clinical trials among high-risk populations.

For more information:

Singh S. P522: Statins are Associated with Reduced Risk of Hepatocellular Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Presented at: The Liver Meeting 2012; Nov. 9-13, Boston.

Source: Endocrine Today


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