Tags: statins | cancer | transplant

Statins Block Cancer After Transplants

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:11 AM

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have been found to prevent cancer and reduce death from all causes in heart transplant recipients in a new study by Swiss researchers.
The study, presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology this week, indicated those health benefits were independent of patient cholesterol levels, investigators said.
Lead author Dr. Frank Enseleit, deputy director of heart failure and transplantation at University Hospital Zurich, said the findings suggest statin drugs may have health benefits that go beyond their cholesterol-lowering effects.
"We have shown that statin therapy prevents cancer in heart transplant recipients and it is known that statins also prevent graft atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries]," he said. "We have to conclude that it should be a lifelong therapy in heart transplant recipients," beginning six months after transplantation.
Cancer is the leading cause of death after heart transplantation, possibly due to medications patients must take to suppress their immune systems so their bodies don’t reject their new organs.
For the study, researchers tracked 255 patients who underwent heart transplantation at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland between 1985 and 2007. During that time, cancer was diagnosed in 108 patients (42 percent), but researchers found statins reduced the risk of any cancer by 65 percent.
What’s more, investigators found the beneficial effects were not tied to patients' cholesterol levels, suggesting they are due to their impact on the immune system.

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Cholesterol-lowering drugs may have important anti-cancer properties, a new study finds.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:11 AM
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