Healthbeat

Cholesterol drugs could help cancer patients

Thursday, November 08, 2012

 

Drugs meant to lower cholesterol could help lower the risk of death in people with cancer.

Cancer patients taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are 15 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause, according to a new study in "The New England Journal of Medicine".

The pattern held regardless of age, cancer type, tumor size or whether the cancer had spread. The study speculates that the drugs may interfere with cell membranes and slow tumor growth.

Researchers say this is not enough reason for cancer patients to start taking statins.

Only patients who had received chemotherapy showed no apparent benefit from taking statins.

The study did not look at whether statins, including Lipitor and Mevacor, can prevent cancer only at what happens once cancer is diagnosed.

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