Background—Statins have been shown to have a protective effect for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in the general population. This study sought to assess the association between statins and the risk for cancer-associated deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Methods—Patients with newly diagnosed cancer were followed for up to one year in a healthcare claims database (2010–2013). Three treatment groups included statin users, non-statin cholesterol lowering medication users, and an untreated group with pre-existing indications for statin therapy (hyperlipidemia, diabetes, or heart disease). Propensity score matched groups were compared using competing risks survival models for DVT and PE outcomes reporting the hazard ratios (HR) between the treatment groups. Sensitivity analyses assessed the influence of age and individual medications.
Results—The total cohort included 170,459 patients, which, after matching, were similar on baseline characteristics. The overall model showed a statistically significant protective effect for statins compared to no treatment attributed only to leukemia for DVT (HR = 0.77, 95% CI 0.61–0.99) and colorectal cancers for PE (HR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.64–0.99) in stratified analyses. There were generally no differences in outcomes between statins and non-statins and no individual statin use showed results different from the class effect.
Conclusions—In this propensity score matched sample of patients with cancer, statins were shown to have a small protective effect in some cancers for DVT or PE compared to no treatment and little difference compared to an active control group. The lack of effect was consistent across statins and was also not found for any of the sensitivity analyses included.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number UL1TR000117. Drs. Adams and Brown were supported by a grant from the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacists Association.
El-Refai, Sherif M.; Black, Esther P.; Adams, Val R.; Talbert, Jeffery C.; and Brown, Joshua D., "Statin Use and Venous Thromboembolism in Cancer: A Large, Active Comparator, Propensity Score Matched Cohort Study" (2017). Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty Publications. 131.