Atorvastatin for Anthracycline-Associated Cardiac Dysfunction: The STOP-CA Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA. 2023 Aug 8;330(6):528-536. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.11887.


Importance: Anthracyclines treat a broad range of cancers. Basic and retrospective clinical data have suggested that use of atorvastatin may be associated with a reduction in cardiac dysfunction due to anthracycline use.

Objective: To test whether atorvastatin is associated with a reduction in the proportion of patients with lymphoma receiving anthracyclines who develop cardiac dysfunction.

Design, setting, and participants: Double-blind randomized clinical trial conducted at 9 academic medical centers in the US and Canada among 300 patients with lymphoma who were scheduled to receive anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Enrollment occurred between January 25, 2017, and September 10, 2021, with final follow-up on October 10, 2022.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive atorvastatin, 40 mg/d (n = 150), or placebo (n = 150) for 12 months.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of participants with an absolute decline in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of ≥10% from prior to chemotherapy to a final value of <55% over 12 months. A secondary outcome was the proportion of participants with an absolute decline in LVEF of ≥5% from prior to chemotherapy to a final value of <55% over 12 months.

Results: Of the 300 participants randomized (mean age, 50 [SD, 17] years; 142 women [47%]), 286 (95%) completed the trial. Among the entire cohort, the baseline mean LVEF was 63% (SD, 4.6%) and the follow-up LVEF was 58% (SD, 5.7%). Study drug adherence was noted in 91% of participants. At 12-month follow-up, 46 (15%) had a decline in LVEF of 10% or greater from prior to chemotherapy to a final value of less than 55%. The incidence of the primary end point was 9% (13/150) in the atorvastatin group and 22% (33/150) in the placebo group (P = .002). The odds of a 10% or greater decline in LVEF to a final value of less than 55% after anthracycline treatment was almost 3 times greater for participants randomized to placebo compared with those randomized to atorvastatin (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4-6.4). Compared with placebo, atorvastatin also reduced the incidence of the secondary end point (13% vs 29%; P = .001). There were 13 adjudicated heart failure events (4%) over 24 months of follow-up. There was no difference in the rates of incident heart failure between study groups (3% with atorvastatin, 6% with placebo; P = .26). The number of serious related adverse events was low and similar between groups.

Conclusions and relevance: Among patients with lymphoma treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy, atorvastatin reduced the incidence of cardiac dysfunction. This finding may support the use of atorvastatin in patients with lymphoma at high risk of cardiac dysfunction due to anthracycline use.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02943590.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthracyclines* / adverse effects
  • Anthracyclines* / therapeutic use
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic* / adverse effects
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic* / therapeutic use
  • Atorvastatin* / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Heart Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Atorvastatin
  • Cardiovascular Agents

Associated data