Incidence of cancer and statin usage--record linkage study

Int J Cancer. 2010 Jan 1;126(1):279-84. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24536.


The consumption of statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) has been increasing, and a substantial part of the middle-aged and elderly population use them continuously. Because a large fraction of the population is exposed, even a small excess of risk with respect to cancer should be considered. We carried out a record-linkage study in Finland utilizing nationwide databases of reimbursed statin medication and cancer. The study population included all statin users in Finland who had purchased at least 1 prescription between 1996 and 2005 and who had no cancer diagnosis at the date of first purchase. A control population without statin usage was also included. Data consisted of 472,481 pairs of individuals that cumulated 4.2 million person years with an average of 8.8 years of follow-up. Fifty thousand two hundred ninety-four cancer cases were observed. Simvastatin and atorvastatin were the most used substances. The most frequent cancers were prostate, breast, lung, colon, and rectum cancer. In general, no association between the utilization of statins and cancer could be detected. In conclusion, this study adds large-scale, population-based results about the association between statin utilization and the incidence of cancer. We found neither beneficial nor harmful associations between the usage of statins and cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors