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Large French Study Explores the Use of Statins and Risk of Skin Cancer in Women

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Monday, January 3, 2022

No apparent association seems to exist between the use of statins and the development of melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma, and statin use may prove to be protective against basal cell carcinoma, according to the results of a prospective cohort study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The topic deserves further research in other settings, according to Agnès Fournier, PhD, of Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, and colleagues. Their analysis involved the use of health data on 62,473 women born between 1925 and 1950 in France.

Between 2004 and 2014, the women self-reported 455 cases of cutaneous melanoma, 1,741 cases of basal cell carcinoma, and 268 cases of squamous cell carcinoma. Drug reimbursement data allowed the identification of participants’ statin use since 2004. “Ever use” of statins was defined as at least two reimbursements of the drug of interest during any previous 3-month period or at least one reimbursement for a 3-month box (ie, containing at least 70 tablets) since January 1, 2004.

Compared with those who never used statins, no associations emerged between ever using statins and melanoma (hazard ratio = 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.94–1.44) or squamous cell carcinoma (hazard ratio = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.66–1.19). The authors reported a decrease in basal cell carcinoma risk with ever use of statins (hazard ratio = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.79–0.996).

“We found no trend of increasing or decreasing risks with [statin] dose, duration of use, time since first use, or age at first use, and no statistically significant effect modification by pigmentary traits or residential ultraviolet ray exposure,” wrote Dr. Fournier and co-investigators. However, “some suggestions of an increased melanoma risk associated with the use of statins among women with higher residential ultraviolet ray exposure should be investigated further.”

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information can be found at jidonline.org.



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