Study Reveals Low Rate of Side Effects with Statins in Patients with Kidney Cancer


In a recent study, researchers looked at statins and survival outcomes, along with potential side effects, in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

In a recent study, researchers looked at statins, which are commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, and survival outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Statins can commonly cause myalgia, general aches in the muscles, says Rana McKay, of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and who was involved with the study.

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.

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