According to the latest health estimates, more than 33,000 people are currently suffering from esophageal cancer in the United States alone. In 2013, approximately 15,000 deaths were reported due to this aggressive malignancy, revealing the deadly nature of the disease and the unmet therapeutic needs that still need to be addressed by the medical community. Based on those statistics, it can be safely assumed that around 18,000 new cases of esophageal cancer will be reported each year.
Over the years, scientists have explored many environmental, social, and nutritional factors that may increase the risk of developing esophageal malignancy; however, the latest study conducted by investigators in the UK identified an unusual negative association that may decrease the risk of developing malignant lesions of the esophagus.
Researchers from United Kingdom conducted a case-control analysis to identify that certain histological varieties of esophageal cancer are inversely linked to statin use. Prior studies have provided statistical evidence that statins have anticarcinogenic and chemoprotective properties.
Details of the Study:
As part of the research, investigators employed the UK General Practice Research Database to study the data collected between 2000 and 2009. The primary aim of study was to explore the association between statin use and its influence on a particular variety of esophageal cancer.
Each study participant was matched with at least 4 controls for sex, age and practice. The final cohort comprised of:
– 581 subjects with a positive diagnosis of esophageal adenocarcinoma as study population who were matched with 2,167 controls.
– 332 subjects with a positive diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma as study population who were matched with 1242 controls.
– 213 subjects with a positive diagnosis of esophagogastric junction adenocarcinoma as study population who were matched with 783 controls.
The research team noted that, “Randomized controlled trials are warranted to determine whether statins have chemopreventive effects in high-risk groups.”
After thorough analysis, investigators identified that statin intake is inversely associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma; while intake in high dose decreases the risk of developing esophagogastric junction adenocarcinoma. The research team also identified that moderate use of statins (for up to 4 years) can reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
Statins are classified as the second-most frequently used drug in the world (to maintain normal cholesterol concentration in blood) while also reducing the risk of developing several chronic metabolic conditions like cardiovascular disorders, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.