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Real-world evidence for preventive effects of statins on cancer incidence: a trans-atlantic analysis

Item Type:Preprint
Title:Real-world evidence for preventive effects of statins on cancer incidence: a trans-atlantic analysis
Creators Name:Gohlke, B.O. and Zincke, F. and Eckert, A. and Kobelt, D. and Preissner, S. and Liebeskind, J.M. and Gunkel, N. and Putzker, K. and Lewis, J. and Preissner, S. and Kortüm, B. and Walther, W. and Mura, C. and Bourne, P.E. and Stein, U. and Preissner, R.
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Numerous clinical trials have considered the potential linkages between statins and cancer. Despite some evidence for reduced mortality associated with statin use, the results thus far have been somewhat inconclusive and not easily comparable, thus hampering the emergence of a consensus. We suspect that this uncertainty would be reduced, and greater clarity achieved (e.g. regarding clinical best practices and standards-of-care), were we to have a reliable, causal biomarker that could help identify those individual patients who might benefit from statin use during cancer treatment. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In the joint experimental and statistical analysis reported here, we assessed the inhibitory potential of various statins on the expression of a tumor enhancer known as MACC1, taking into account the molecular functions of this key metastasis-associated protein. To assess any effects of statins in cancer prevention (observationally), we also performed a retrospective, two-center, nested case-control study, focusing on medical centers in Berlin, Germany and Virginia, USA. Among nearly a half-million patient visits, over a decade-long period, cancer patients were identified and analyzed in comparison to patients without cancer diagnoses. Odds ratios (OR) and hazard ratios (HR) for cancer were computed for patients with and without statin intake, accounting for potential confounders. Finally, we also extended these analyses of our trans-Atlantic cohort by utilizing real-world data from 132,072 cancer patients with statins available on the TriNetX platform. Experimental work revealed that statins inhibit MACC1 mRNA levels and protein expression, resulting in reduced MACC1-induced phenotypic functions, such as motility and proliferation. Moreover, we found that statins restrict colorectal cancer (CRC) growth and metastasis in xenografted mice. The cohort data that we gathered at the German and U.S. centers enabled analysis of 53,113 cancer patients and matched controls. These were extracted, aggregated, and 1:1 matched (by age/gender) in order to build propensity-score matched sub-cohorts, to mitigate confounder bias. Based on this real-world evidence (RWE), we found that atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin were associated with a 50% reduced overall risk for developing cancer (OR 0.5, CI 0.48-0.51). The strongest association of reduced cancer risk was found for (i) liver cancer (OR 0.35, 0.29-0.43), (ii) secondary neoplasms of respiratory and digestive organs (OR 0.42, 0.34-0.45), and (iii) colorectal cancer (OR 0.44, 0.39-0.5). The effect of atorvastatin (OR 0.3, 0.28-0.32) exceeded other considered statins, even after exclusion of aspirin as the strongest confounder (OR 0.63, CI 0.57-0.7). Additionally, we note that those patients taking statins have a 38% decreased risk of death (HR 0.64, 0.48-0.86). CONCLUSIONS: Our data, which offer evidence for cancer-preventative and anti-metastatic effects of statins, lead us to suggest that these medications should be considered in treating some types of cancers. In addition, MACC1 may serve as a potentially helpful biomarker for purposes of patient stratification (and personalized treatment). A more definitive test of these proposed ideas could come from prospective, randomized clinical trials.
Keywords:Animals, Mice
Publisher:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Article Number:2021.07.20.21260891
Date:22 July 2021
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.20.21260891
Related to:
https://edoc.mdc-berlin.de/21153/Final version

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