Tags: statins | thyroid | cancer | risk | women

Do Statins Raise Women's Thyroid Cancer Risk?

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 08:27 PM

Heart health is critical but a recent study indicates that commonly prescribed statin drugs used to lower cholesterol may actually put women at a higher risk for thyroid cancer. The same risk does not appear to apply to men.

As reported in Clinical Endocrinology, researchers in Taiwan conducted a large sample study that examined statin use in subjects with existing thyroid cancer and subjects without cancer. Data analysis by Dr. Shih-Han-Hung and colleagues showed that "thyroid cancer was significantly associated with previous regular statin use" although the same results did not apply to irregular statin use. In addition, "the significant association between thyroid cancer and previous statin use only existed for females."

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Statins have also been examined for their role in reducing the risk of cancer. MedPage Today reports, "The molecular mechanisms for statins affecting the carcinogenesis process originate from HMG-CoA reductase inhibition-related growth-suppressing properties" according to Dr. Hung.

The presence of estradiol, the female sex hormone produced in ovaries, seems to be a factor in the increased risk of thyroid cancer for women taking statins. According to Pharmacy Learning Network, previous studies have shown that "estradiol impedes the ability of statins to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells." Estradiol also "promotes the growth of thyroid tumor cells and metabolism of the hormone is unbalanced in patients with thyroid cancer, which suggested the cancer-fighting effects of statins were neutralized by higher estradiol levels in the study’s female patients."

Dr. Hung's study concluded that statin use by women increased their risk for thyroid cancer and additional research may conform or conflict with Hung's data. The New York Times however, takes additional issue with statin use by women stating, "Far too many healthy women are taking statins, they say, though some research indicates the drugs will do them little good and may be more likely to cause serious side effects in women." According to the Times, not enough women have been included in clinical trials of statin use and as a result, "evidence on the benefits and risks for women is limited."

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Heart health is critical but a recent study indicates that commonly prescribed statin drugs used to lower cholesterol may actually put women at a higher risk for thyroid cancer. The same risk does not appear to apply to men.
statins, thyroid, cancer, risk, women
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2014-27-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 08:27 PM
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