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Statin Drugs & Risk of Breast Cancer  

Do statin drugs help prevent breast cancer?

Statin drugs (also called statins) are prescribed to lower elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood in patients for whom diet and exercise have not achieved sufficient lowering. Examples of statins include Lipitor, Pravacol, and Zocor.

Some statins have been demonstrated to help prevent cardiovascular (i.e., heart and blood vessel) disease.

The use of statins as a class of drug has not been proven to cause a statistically significant change in (i.e., lowering or raising) the risk of occurrence of invasive breast cancer or mortality from breast cancer .[1-3]

Recent results from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Study, however, demonstrated that postmenopausal women who took certain types of statins (i.e., fluvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin) experienced with an 18% lower risk of breast cancer than did women who did not receive statin therapy.[2, 3] On the other hand, postmenopausal women who took other types of statin drugs had a similar risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not receive statin therapy.


1. Journal of the American Medical Association. 01/04/06.
2. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 05/17/06.
3. National Cancer Institute. Most statin use not associated with breast cancer risk. NCI Cancer Bulletin. 2006. 3(21):4.

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