Association between statin use and colorectal cancer risk: a meta-analysis of 42 studies

Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Feb;25(2):237-49. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0326-6. Epub 2013 Nov 22.


Purpose: There is a long-standing debate about whether statins have chemopreventive properties against colorectal cancer (CRC), but the results remain inconclusive. We therefore present a meta-analysis to investigate the association between statin use and risk of CRC.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was undertaken through July 2013 looking for eligible studies. Pooled relative risk (RR) estimates and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were used to calculate estimated effect.

Results: Forty-two studies [18 case-control studies, 13 cohort studies, and 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs)] were included in this analysis. Overall, statin use was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of CRC (RR = 0.90, 95 % CI 0.86-0.95). When the analyses were stratified into subgroups, a significant decreased association of CRC risk was observed in observational studies (RR = 0.89, 95 % CI 0.84-0.95), rectal cancer (RR = 0.81, 95 % CI 0.66-0.99), and lipophilic statin (RR = 0.88, 95 % CI 0.85-0.93), but not in RCTs (RR = 0.96, 95 % CI 0.85-1.08), colon cancer, and hydrophilic statin. However, long-term statin use (≥5 years) did not significantly affect the risk of CRC (RR = 0.96, 95 % CI 0.90-1.03). Cumulative meta-analysis showed that statin use significantly reduces the risk of CRC, which has been available between 2007 and 2013.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that statin use is associated with a modest reduced risk of CRC; apparent associations were found for lipophilic statin use. However, long-term statin use did not appear to significantly affect the risk of CRC.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors