Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Are Statins Cardioprotective in Patients Treated With Chemotherapy for Early Breast Cancer?

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

For women with early-stage breast cancer receiving chemotherapy, administration of statins may protect against chemotherapy-induced cardiac damage, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Although the exact protective mechanism remains elusive, it has been speculated that statins induce anti-inflammatory and antioxidative benefits, explained Paaladinesh Thavendiranathan, MD, SM, of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Canada, and colleagues.

“This study does not conclusively prove statins are protective,” commented coauthor Husam Abdel-Qadir, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto, in a press release. “However, this study builds on the body of evidence suggesting that they may have benefits.”

From 2007 to 2017, a total of 2,112 women with early-stage breast cancer were recruited through several databases in Ontario, Canada. All women were at least 66 years old and did not have a previous diagnosis of heart failure. Patients were receiving either anthracyclines (n = 666) or trastuzumab (n = 390). All patients were matched with another patient receiving the same treatment regimen plus a statin. Development of heart failure over 5 years was assessed in this patient population.

Analysis of the women receiving anthracycline treatment for their early-stage breast cancer revealed that 1.2% of women who received a concurrent statin were treated at a hospital for heart failure, as compared with 2.9% of women who did not receive statin therapy. Overall, heart failure treatment was 55% less likely in patients receiving anthracyclines plus statins.

A similar analysis showed that 2.7% of women receiving trastuzumab plus statins visited a hospital for heart failure compared with 3.7% of women who received trastuzumab alone. Patients who received trastuzumab plus statins were 54% less likely to receive treatment for heart failure.

Disclosures: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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