Prediagnosis Use of Statins Associates With Increased Survival Times of Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Aug;16(8):1300-1306.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.02.022. Epub 2018 Feb 21.


Background & aims: Statin medications, most commonly prescribed to reduce lipid levels and prevent cardiovascular disease, may be associated with longer survival times of patients with cancer. However, the association of statins with outcomes of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma is not clear.

Methods: We analyzed the association of statin use before a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer with survival times of 648 participants in the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma from 2000 through 2013. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for overall mortality using Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for potential confounders. We assessed the temporal association between prediagnosis statin use and cancer survival by 2-year lag periods to account for a possible latency period between statin use and cancer survival.

Results: Regular statin use before diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was associated with modestly prolonged survival compared with nonregular use (adjusted HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.69-0.97; P = .02). A 1-month longer median survival was observed in regular statin users compared with nonregular users. Regular statin use within the 2 years prior to cancer diagnosis was most strongly associated with longer survival. We observed no statistically significant effect modification by smoking status, body mass index, diabetes, or cancer stage (all Pinteraction > .53). Regular statin use before diagnosis was similarly associated with survival in the Nurses' Health Study (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.97) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.63-1.15).

Conclusions: Regular statin use before diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was associated with modest increases in survival times in 2 large prospective cohort studies.

Keywords: Epidemiology; HPFS; Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors; NHS; Neoplasm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors