Relationship between the use of statins and patient survival in colorectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 1;10(6):e0126944. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126944. eCollection 2015.


Background: Studies have indicated that statins influence the risks and mortality rates of several types of solid tumors. However, the association between statin use and survival in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) remains unclear.

Methods: We searched the PubMed and Embase databases for relevant studies published up to September 2014 that assessed statin use and CRC prognosis. The primary outcomes were overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS). The secondary outcomes were disease-free survival (DFS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were extracted and pooled with Mantel-Haenszel random-effect modeling. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Four studies on post-diagnosis statin therapy and five studies on pre-diagnosis statin use were included in our meta-analysis of 70,608 patients. Compared with the non-users, the patients with post-diagnosis statin use gained survival benefits for OS (HR 0.76; 95% CI: 0.68 to 0.85, P<0.001) and CSS (HR 0.70; 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.81, P<0.001). In addition, we observed that pre-diagnosis statin use prolonged the survival of patients with CRC for OS (HR 0.70; 95% CI: 0.54 to 0.91, P=0.007) and CSS (HR 0.80; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.86, P<0.001). However, we did not observe a survival benefit for DFS (HR 1.13; 95% CI: 0.78 to 1.62, P=0.514) or RFS (HR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.36 to 2.70, P=0.975) in the CRC patients with post-diagnosis statin use.

Conclusions: Statin use before or after cancer diagnosis is related to reductions in overall and cancer-specific mortality in colorectal cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Publication Bias
  • Survival Analysis


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors

Grant support

These authors have no support or funding to report.