Statin associated lower cancer risk and related mortality in patients with heart failure

Eur Heart J. 2021 Jun 22;ehab325. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab325. Online ahead of print.


Aims: Patients with heart failure (HF) have an increased risk of incident cancer. Data relating to the association of statin use with cancer risk and cancer-related mortality among patients with HF are sparse.

Methods and results: Using a previously validated territory-wide clinical information registry, statin use was ascertained among all eligible patients with HF (n = 87 102) from 2003 to 2015. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to balance baseline covariates between statin nonusers (n = 50 926) with statin users (n = 36 176). Competing risk regression with Cox proportional-hazard models was performed to estimate the risk of cancer and cancer-related mortality associated with statin use. Of all eligible subjects, the mean age was 76.5 ± 12.8 years, and 47.8% was male. Over a median follow-up of 4.1 years (interquartile range: 1.6-6.8), 11 052 (12.7%) were diagnosed with cancer. Statin use (vs. none) was associated with a 16% lower risk of cancer incidence [multivariable adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio (SHR) = 0.84; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.80-0.89]. This inverse association with risk of cancer was duration dependent; as compared with short-term statin use (3 months to <2 years), the adjusted SHR was 0.99 (95% CI, 0.87-1.13) for 2 to <4 years of use, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.70-0.97) for 4 to <6 years of use, and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.65-0.93) for ≥6 years of use. Ten-year cancer-related mortality was 3.8% among statin users and 5.2% among nonusers (absolute risk difference, -1.4 percentage points [95% CI, -1.6% to -1.2%]; adjusted SHR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.67-0.81).

Conclusion: Our study suggests that statin use is associated with a significantly lower risk of incident cancer and cancer-related mortality in HF, an association that appears to be duration dependent.

Keywords: Cancer; Cardio-oncology; Heart failure; Prevention; Statin.