Statins May Help Cancer Patients Live Longer
but Statins Raise Risk of Cataracts

Duncan MacDonald     
Jakarta   9  July   2016      
Reviewed   18  February   2022      

   A British study of nearly 1 million cancer patients who take cholesterol-lowering statins may live longer than those not on these heart medications.

While it did not prove a cause-and-effect connection, the study found that those taking statin drugs such as Crestor and Lipitor appeared to have:Statins

   ◊   a 22% lower risk of dying from lung cancer
   ◊   a 30% lower risk of dying from colon cancer
   ◊   a 43% lower risk of dying from breast cancer
   ◊   a 47% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer [1]

   Dr Paul Carter, from Aston University in Birmingham UK, who presented the new findings at a cardiovascular conference, said: "Our reseach suggests that there is something about having a high cholesterol diagnosis that improves survival, and to which it did was quite striking in the four cancers studied. Based on previous research we think there's a very strong possibility that statins are producing this effect."

   The study evaluated health records of close to a million cancer patients admitted to UK hospitals between January 2000 and March 2013. The data was then compared with mortality figures obtained from the Office for National Statistics.

   The findings support previous research indicating that statins may offer protection to cancer patients. The scientists said that the tests indicate the blocking of the hormone oestrogen, which causes high cholesterol, although statins, could slow cancer growth dramatically.

   The researchers have called for further studies on the cholesterol-lowering drugs in light of the findings. [2]

The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, more commonlyAkira Endo  known as statins, were first identified by in the 1970's by Japanese biochemist, Akira Endo,[3] and colleagues. Market approval for the treatment of high cholesterol was received in the late 1980's.
Statins have become one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world.

Statins Raise Risk of Cataracts by 27%

Duncan MacDonald     
Jakarta   24  September  2013      
   ◊   US researchers checked medical records of 14,000 people over 8 years.
   ◊   Found cholesterol necessary to maintain healthy cells in the eye.

A US study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology on 23rd Sept 2013, found statin use to be associated with an increased risk for cataract. Millions of people who take stains to fight heart disease could be 27% more likely to develop cataracts. [4]Statins

The US researchers checked the medical records of 14,000 people over more than eight years, divided equally between those who used stains for at least three months and those who had never taken the drugs.

The scientists found the increased risk of 27% for statin users held up even after they accounted for other factors that could explain the result, such as high blood pressure. They said cholesterol was necessary to maintain healthy cells in the eye and the transparency of the lens.

Older people are more susceptible because they make up the majority of statin users and patients with cataracts, which cloud the eye and require surgery to prevent blindness.

Cataracts form when the tissue inside the lens of the eye breaks down, eventually becoming cloudy. Since light passes through the lens, cataracts can distort a person’s vision. Causes of developing cataracts include genetic disorders, diabetes, trauma and other conditions.[5]

Statins such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin), taken by one-fourth of American aged 45 and older to help fight high cholesterol, had been linked to the formation of vision-blurring cataracts, according to the JAMA Ophthalmology study.

More than eight million Britons take statins - the most widely prescribed drug in the UK. GPs wrote out 61 million prescriptions in England alone during 2011. The drugs are only given to patients with at least a 20% risk of having a heart attack or stroke within ten years.
More than 25 million Americans are on statin drugs to lower cholesterol and decrease their chance of heart disease.

However researchers from Oxford University looking at 27 statin trials involving 175,000 people, some of whom were at low risk of heart problems, found the drugs cut the risk of heart attack, stroke and operations to unblock arteries by at least a third. It concluded that the benefits greatly exceeded any side-effects from taking the drug.Cataract

Around one in three people over 65 develop cataracts. Over 341,000 operations were carried out last year in Britain on the NHS. Removing cataracts is among the safest and most common medical procedures, while uncontrolled high cholesterol can lead to life-threatening heart disease and stroke.

   “For patients themselves, my advice is to discuss what your benefit and risk ratio is for you with your doctor.” Mansi told Reuters.

Source: Mansi I, Panday V, Mansi EA, Frei CR, Mortensen EM, Leuschen J. Association of Statin Use with Cataracts: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis. JAMA Ophthalmology 2013.

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1. WebMD 8 July 2016, 8 July 2016
3.Endo A, Tsujita Y, Kuroda M, et al. Inhibition of cholesterol synthesis in vitro and in vivo by ML-236A and ML-236B, competitive inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase. Eur J Biochem 1977;77:31–36.
4. Study led by Dr Ishak Mansi of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center & Dallas VA Medical Center

5. According to Mayo Clinic