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babydog 05-15-2005 06:48 AM

Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
I was watching TV this morning and heard about a new research study that is showing that taking statins cuts the risk of colon and breast cancer.

I do not know who funded the research, sorry. But curious as to your thoughts on this research.

I don't have many friends. But one of my few close friends was diagnosed with breast cancer in november. It was a miracle that they caught it because it was so small on the mamogram. Her breast was removed and the lymph nodes tested. 24 out of 28 nodes tested positive.

My friend had been taking Lipitor for the last couple of years. Like I said I don't have many friends. What are the odds that I would have a friend who would develop a very aggressive form of breast cancer while taking statins???

I don't think I have to tell you what my opinion is of this latest research.

Your thoughts.

ARIZONA73 05-15-2005 07:38 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Yes, that article also appeared in today's Star-Ledger. Claims are being made that statins lower the risk of developing breast, prostate, and colon cancer. How credible is it? I don't know. All I know is that these claims appear to run contrary to earlier animal studies in which these drugs were found to be extremely carcinogenic. Positive claims about statins always seem to make front page news, while the risks are either downplayed or ignored in the media. Keep in mind the fact that these drugs generate enormous profits for the drug companies, and they are always coming up with more reasons why people should be taking them. It's not unusual nowadays to learn that false claims have been made over the years about one drug or another. Do you remember the Neurontin fiasco? Neurontin is an anti-seizure drug, but drug company sales reps (I forget the name of the company) were ordered to make unfounded claims about this drug in order to boost sales. So, nothing they say surprises me anymore, although I do have my doubts about these claims being made about statins. Their carcinogenic effects seen in earlier animal studies is hard for me to ignore.

happybunny 05-15-2005 10:24 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Arizona

What were the claims that the sales reps were forced to make about neurontin?

babydog 05-15-2005 10:50 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
[QUOTE=ARIZONA73]Yes, that article also appeared in today's Star-Ledger. Claims are being made that statins lower the risk of developing breast, prostate, and colon cancer. How credible is it? I don't know. All I know is that these claims appear to run contrary to earlier animal studies in which these drugs were found to be extremely carcinogenic. Positive claims about statins always seem to make front page news, while the risks are either downplayed or ignored in the media. Keep in mind the fact that these drugs generate enormous profits for the drug companies, and they are always coming up with more reasons why people should be taking them. It's not unusual nowadays to learn that false claims have been made over the years about one drug or another. Do you remember the Neurontin fiasco? Neurontin is an anti-seizure drug, but drug company sales reps (I forget the name of the company) were ordered to make unfounded claims about this drug in order to boost sales. So, nothing they say surprises me anymore, although I do have my doubts about these claims being made about statins. Their carcinogenic effects seen in earlier animal studies is hard for me to ignore.[/QUOTE]

Do you know by any chance WHO sponsored this research study??

ARIZONA73 05-15-2005 11:26 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
babydog,

I don't know, it didn't say anywhere in the article who sponsored the study. But the impression I got was that these findings were only preliminary, nothing conclusive. They did say that more studies would need to be done, and that these preliminary findings may just be coincidental. The article also did say that statins appear to increase the risk of certain cancers in the elderly.

happybunny,

Warner-Lambert illegally instructed its sales representatives to promote the use of Neurontin for at least 12 other conditions which it was never FDA approved for. These conditions included bipolar disorder, various pain disorders, Lou Gehrig's disease, attention deficit disorder, migraines, restless leg syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, post-hepatic neuralgia. There was never any supportive evidence that Neurontin was an effective treatment for any of these disorders. Doctors were mislead into believing that there was.

Dr. David Franklin, an employee of Warner-Lambert at the time, resigned from the company and became a whistleblower, and a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the U.S. government. In 2004, Pfizer, the parent company, plead guilty and agreed to pay $430 million to resolve all criminal charges and civil liabilities related to the illegal and fraudulent marketing of Neurontin.

I understand that for his part, David Franklin was awarded $24.64 million.

Tobias 05-15-2005 12:02 PM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Baby, sorry about your friend. Should you wish to investigate the cancer/statin subject further before drawing more conclusions, here's one way.

Here are examples of my quick Medline search for recent studies dealing with the possible prostate cancer/statin connection:

Cyrus-David MS ; Weinberg A ; Thompson T ; Kadmon D
Affiliation: From the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center, Department of Medicine (MSC-D, AW) and Scott Department of Urology (TT, DK), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
The effect of statins on serum prostate specific antigen levels in a cohort of airline pilots: a preliminary report.
Source: J Urol (The Journal of urology.) 2005 Jun; 173(6): 1923-5

Moyad MA ; Sonnleithner M
Affiliation: Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical Center,
Prostate cancer and coronary heart disease: correlation or coincidence?
Source: Urol Clin North Am (The Urologic clinics of North America.) 2004 May; 31(2): 207-12

Moyad MA
Affiliation: Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Heart healthy equals prostate healthy equals statins: the next cancer chemoprevention trial. Part II.
Source: Curr Opin Urol (Current opinion in urology.) 2005 Jan; 15(1): 7-12

Friis S ; Poulsen AH ; Johnsen SP ; McLaughlin JK ; Fryzek JP ; Dalton SO ; Sørensen HT ; Olsen JH
Affiliation: Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Cancer risk among statin users: a population-based cohort study.
Source: Int J Cancer (International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer.) 2005 Apr 20; 114(4): 643-7

I am using FirstSearch made available through my and many other public libraries. An abstract giving the study's purpose, methods, results, & conclusions and full citation is provided. No full-text is available but FirstSearch provides information on which libraries subscribe to the publication cited. Those interested in full-text could investigate visiting another library or inter-library loan or copying. Interestingly, I find that the medical library in a hospital near me has a couple of the Journals.


Medline (from the National Library of Medicine) searching online is also available outside of the proprietary FirstSearch collection of databases but without the location information and many find searching here unsatisfying because they want to see the entire article and of course, they can't.

I searched only on prostate cancer. Similar searches could be done for breast, colon, etc.

babydog 05-15-2005 02:34 PM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Hello Tobias,

thanks so much. I see there are a lot of research articles out there. I find it funny that only certain ones seem to make the press. :rolleyes:

To say that I am confused is an understatement. :confused:
All I know is in 1989 my mother had a total cholesterol of 300 at the age of 62. Today at age 79 her cholesterol is 191 and all she did was change her diet and lose 15 pounds. My aunt has high cholesterol but somehow she has made it to age 84 despite smoking (yes she still does), high blood pressure, overweight and a diet an abominable diet.

My friend (age 57) who was on statins at the time of her cancer diagnosis is lucky to be alive.

My cholesterol is about 225 with an HDL of 64. My doctor says the only reason she is letting me off the hook is because I have no other risk factors! :eek:

Makes you want to lock yourself up in your house, jump into bed and pull the covers over you! :D

HubbleRules 05-15-2005 03:31 PM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
All,

I still can't dismiss the fact that all the statins were shown to cause cancer in animals in doses equivalent to levels prescribed to humans today. Years ago, this would lead to a substance being qualified as a 'carcinogen'.

Tobias - what was the time-frame of the studies you cite? I can't access them, and am nowhere near a credible library. Since most cancers usually don't manifest themselves for 2-3 decades after carcinogen exposure, I'm assuming the studies were at least 10-15 years in duration???

Regards,
HubbleRules
:cool:

Tobias 05-15-2005 05:26 PM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
I listed one study twice - the Cyrus-David one on airline pilots. Sorry, I will remove one of them later. Here are the time frames of the two for which time frame is pertinent:

The time frame of Cyrus-David study was 9 years.

The time frame of the Friis study was 13 years.

Lenin 05-16-2005 04:39 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Babydog,

Thank you for the heads up on the statin-prostate/colon cancer rrelationship.

I found this blip at the end of a study done at the VA interesting on prostate cancer:
[QUOTE]Records from 47 incident prostate cancer cases and 142 PSA normal clinic controls were reviewed. After adjusting for age and body mass index, men with any recorded statin use had a 56% lower risk of prostate cancer as opposed to non-users (odds ratio (OR) 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.22-0.88)). When statin use was grouped by duration and dose, those with the longer duration of use (>3 years) and higher dose (>40mg/day) were at lower risk of prostate cancer as compared to non-users (OR=0.35, 95% CI=0.12-1.00). Conclusions: Results of this pilot study suggest that any statin use is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer and that use for a longer period of time at a higher dose may confer the most risk reduction. This study is limited by a small sample size and lack of control for additional comorbid factors. If these results are confirmed in a larger prospective study they may provide necessary evidence to consider the use of statin drugs in prostate cancer prevention. [/QUOTE]

And the work of Dr. Stephen Gruber of the University of Michigan on Israelis and colon cancer:
[QUOTE]Gruber and colleagues studied 1,608 Israelis with colorectal cancer and 1,734 Israelis without the disease. They asked the participants about their use of statin drugs and about other lifestyle factors that could influence colon cancer risk, such as diet, physical activity, family history of cancer, cancer screening practices, and use of aspirin or similar drugs.

The people in the study who reported using statins for 5 years or more had about half the risk of colon cancer as people who did not take the drugs.

Just 267 people in the study had used statins for that long. Most of them (95%) used the drugs pravastatin (Pravachol) or simvastatin (Zocor). Other types of cholesterol lowering-drugs (like fibrates) did not have an effect on colon cancer risk.

[/QUOTE]
It looks like Gruber is being financed by the U.S. government:[QUOTE]
Researchers at the University of Michigan and the KHC National Center of Cancer Control in Haifa, Israel have been awarded a $4.8 million grant to study genetic aspects of colon cancer.

The five-year study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, will examine how genetic susceptibility to cancer may be modified by diet, medications, and lifestyle.

[/QUOTE] ..........from the U. of Michigan Med School Newsletter

Obviously more research needs be done into the different types of cancers...since these two are mostly the scourges of MEN:D:D! But, both these studies are very encouraging...I always like killing two birds with one stone (or statin!)

babydog 05-16-2005 05:58 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
[QUOTE=Lenin]Babydog,

Thank you for the heads up on the statin-prostate/colon cancer rrelationship.

I found this blip at the end of a study done at the VA interesting on prostate cancer:


And the work of Dr. Stephen Gruber of the University of Michigan on Israelis and colon cancer:

It looks like Gruber is being financed by the U.S. government: ..........from the U. of Michigan Med School Newsletter

Obviously more research needs be done into the different types of cancers...since these two are mostly the scourges of MEN:D:D! But, both these studies are very encouraging...I always like killing two birds with one stone (or statin!)[/QUOTE]

In a way I can almost buy the relationship between cholesterol and prostate cancer because in my crazy mixed up head there is a relationship between men having problems "down there" :D and circulatory issues. My brother was bothered by prostatits for a few years before he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes AND high trigycerides, both of which are now controlled with medication. He is on Lipitor. Go figure. :confused:

happybunny 05-17-2005 02:27 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Arizona

Neurontin actually [U]does[/U] help many people with nerve pain - myself being one of them! It is extremely difficult to find drugs that help nerve pain as ordinary pain killers do not. I agree that they should not have been promoting it illegally but even though neurontin may not be licensed for use for nerve pain I am damn glad I can use it. The help it gives against neuropathic pain was discovered as a "side effect" of its original use so I was told. Let's face it, all drugs affect many organs - not just the target organ. In this case it is a [U]good[/U] side effect.

I use Lipitor but with my high genetic cholesterol it is essential for me. I hope it also has some extra benefits for me, but I am inclined to think that the claims for colon/breast cancer reduction may result from the fact that people on statins will, if they have any sense, have a better lifestyle (diet, exercise etc) than a lot of the population due to dealing with their cholesterol. The rest of the body will benefit from the good lifestyle, including bowel and breast tissue.

elsie3205 05-17-2005 06:37 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
I absolutely agree about neurontin. I have interstitial cystitis, an incurable bladder disease, and neurontin helps me tremendously.

cathyinto 05-17-2005 08:48 AM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
From Mary Enig of ************ Foundation

[I]In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer.25 Why have we not seen such a dramatic correlation in human studies? Because cancer takes a long time to develop and most of the statin trials do not go on longer than two or three years. Still, in one trial, the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500 percent.26 In the Heart Protection Study, non-melanoma skin cancer occurred in 243 patients treated with simvastatin compared with 202 cases in the control group.27

Manufacturers of statin drugs have recognized the fact that statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to cancer and infectious disease, recommending statin use for inflammatory arthritis and as an immune suppressor for transplant patients.28[/I]

happybunny 05-17-2005 12:03 PM

Re: Statins cut the Risk of Cancer
 
Every drug needs evaluating for each individual of [U]risk[/U] versus [U]gain[/U].

If it were not for Lipitor I might well have been dead by now due to my severe blockages and high cholesterol. For me it is fairly easy to do the equation. I can see that for someone with just a [U]slightly[/U] high cholesterol the situation is incredibly harder to balance. If in any way I could get away with it I would avoid medication of any kind.

3 years ago I went on a real health kick, as I had seen so many doctors re muscle/nerve problems over last few years and wanted to see the next one when I was 90 odd......... to sign my death certificate! Despite my brilliant healthy diet etc. I started with angina last summer and was found to have severe blockages (95% + 90%) due to genetic very high cholesterol. Now I have had 3 stents in and am doing great but am on a multitude of drugs - the thing I wanted to avoid!! I just have to go with the flow and accept it and be glad I am alive. I think I am stuck on a lot of these drugs for life. But I am high risk so tough luck!

But it must be hard for people who have less extreme cholesterol - I don't know what I would do in that sort of situation. Whatever we do, in 10 years time they will be saying we should be doing something different! For some like me these drugs potentially save lives but then the side effects may complicate the lives of others - or even myself. My LFTs are up now so who knows what is going on.

I hate taking so many tablets but I think every day how glad I am to be alive and how I almost certainly would not be without medical intervention. I just enjoy each day. But it must be so hard for people on the borderline figures to know what to do. No sure answer.


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