In McKay's analysis, statin users demonstrated an overall survival of 25.6 months compared with 18.9 months for non-users. This improvement was seen among patients receiving targeted therapy called VEGF or mTOR inhibitors. However, no benefit was seen among patients receiving interferon or cytokine-based therapies. Because of this, statin use may be synergistic with certain targeted therapies, but the potential side effects were a concern.
"In the severe setting, [they] can actually cause inflammation in the muscles," she says. "Additionally, statins can cause liver dysfunction, and so, especially in use with these targeted agents, liver function tests need to be performed regularly."
Results of the analysis found that the rate of inflammation of the muscles and elevated liver markers were low and similar between patients receiving statins and those who did not.