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Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04

Anticholesterol Channel
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Latest Research : Pharmacology : Anticholesterol

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Cholesterol-Lowering Agents May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
May 17, 2005, 01:54, Reviewed by: Dr.

"This is a significant study for patients with breast cancer and women at high risk for this disease. The findings indicate that statins may have a role in breast cancer prevention."

 
A new study shows that statins drugs widely used to lower cholesterol levels may reduce breast cancer risk by more than half.

"This is a significant study for patients with breast cancer and women at high risk for this disease," said Vikas Khurana, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Louisiana State University Health Science Center at Shreveport and senior author of the study. The study was conducted at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Shreveport, Louisiana. "The findings indicate that statins may have a role in breast cancer prevention."

Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase. This enzyme regulates production of intermediates for several cell-signaling pathways that play an important role in the development of cancer. Laboratory studies have shown that some statins can trigger "apoptosis," or the natural process of cell death.

Researchers compared statin use between 556 women with a history of breast cancer and 39,865 women without the disease who served as controls. All women were female veterans in the South Central United States. Data were gathered between October 1998 and June 2004 from a database containing health information about veterans.
After controlling for age, smoking, alcohol use, and diabetes, the risk of breast cancer was 51% lower for statin users than for non-users. Researchers noted that they plan to analyze their data further to see if the effect on breast cancer risk varies according to the type and dose of statins used.

Dr. Khurana cautioned that more studies are needed to evaluate the possible protective role of statins in breast cancer, including large, randomized, prospective studies. "It would be premature to tell women to take statins to decrease their breast cancer risk," he said. "But if our results are confirmed, I think statins will have a significant chemopreventive role in women at high risk for breast cancer."
 

- American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting
 

www.asco.org

 
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Presenting Author:
Vikas Khurana, MD
Louisiana State University Health Science Center
Shreveport, LA


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