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Is Statin Exposure Associated With Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021

According to research presented in the Archives of Dermatological Research, there may be an association between statin exposure and squamous cell carcinoma risk in some environments. Jon Gunnlaugur Jonasson, MD, of the Landspitali National-University Hospital in Reykjavik, and colleagues found that this association may exist in environments with low ultraviolet exposure but did not find a similar association between statin exposure and basal cell carcinoma risk.

The study included 4,700 Icelandic patients with basal cell carcinoma and 2,180 patients with squamous cell carcinoma (n = 1,167, in situ; n = 1,013, invasive), all of whom had initial diagnoses between 2003 and 2017. Patients were identified using the Icelandic Cancer Registry and Icelandic Prescription Medicine Register. Each enrolled patient was grouped with 10 healthy controls of similar age and sex, resulting in 47,292 controls for the basal cell carcinoma group, 11,961 controls for the in situ squamous cell carcinoma group, and 10,367 controls for the invasive squamous cell carcinoma group.

An association was found between overall statin use and increased risk of either type of squamous cell carcinoma but not for basal cell carcinoma. A particularly strong relationship was observed between patients with invasive or in situ squamous cell carcinoma who were older than 60. Simvastatin use was linked with a higher risk for developing either type of squamous cell carcinoma, whereas atorvastatin use was associated only with an increased risk for in situ disease.

“The reasons are unclear, but our results may suggest that individuals receiving atorvastatin and simvastatin have differing levels of baseline keratinocyte cancer risk or that properties of a statin other than ‘statin intensity’ affect association with [squamous cell carcinoma],” concluded the study authors.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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