Background: Statins are widely prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels in the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, the debate about the effect of statins on cancer risk remains unsettled. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of utilization of statins with the risk of gastric cancer by carrying out a meta-analysis.
Methods: A literature search was performed on PubMed and EMBASE up to March 2013 to identify the cohort or case-control studies or randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the relationship between statins use and the risk of gastric cancer. The bibliographies of the retrieved articles were also reviewed to identify additional studies. A random-effects model was used to calculate the summary relative risks (RRs) with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Three post-hoc analyses of 26 RCTs involving 290 gastric cancers and eight observational studies totaling 7,321 gastric cancers were included. Statins use was shown to be significantly associated with a 27 % reduction in the risk of gastric cancer (RR = 0.73, 95 % CI = 0.58-0.93), with considerable heterogeneity among studies (I (2) = 88.9 %). Excluding one study in which all subjects are diabetic patients obtained an attenuated, but homogeneous result (RR = 0.85, 95 % CI = 0.80-0.91, I (2) = 0.0 %). These findings were consistent in the subgroup analysis.
Conclusion: A meta-analysis of existing evidence, primarily from observational studies, indicates that use of statins reduces the risk of gastric cancer.