ASCO: Lipid-lowering agents linked to improved survival in endometrial cancer

June 5, 2013

Endometrial cancer patients reduced their chance of death by 84% with the use of statins and aspirin, according to a new study by researchers at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care.

Endometrial cancer patients reduced their chance of death by 84% with the use of statins and aspirin, according to a new study by researchers at Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care (MECCC), presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. Additionally, women who used only statins saw their risk of dying decline by 45%. 

A retrospective cohort study evaluated overall survival of 554 patients who had been diagnosed and treated for endometrial cancer at Montefiore Medical Center between January 2005 and December 2009. Among them, 333 were not hyperlipidemic, 165 had hyperlipidemia treated with statins, and 56 were hyperlipidemic and had not received statin therapy. In the study, women who received statin therapy had hypertension, diabetes, and were older than those who did not.

“Antihyperlipidemic medications are extremely common medications taken by women with obesity and cardiovascular risk factors,” said lead author Nicole Nevadunsky, MD, gynecologic oncologist, MECCC and assistant professor, department of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y.

Multivariate analysis showed endometrial cancer survivors taking statin therapy had a 45% decreased hazard of death compared to women who did not have hyperlipidemia (HR=0.55; 95% CI, 0.35-0.87). There was an 84% decreased hazard of death for survivors taking both statins and aspirin compared with other subgroups (HR=0.16; 95% CI, 0.07-0.38).

“Statin therapy may represent a low-cost, low-side effect adjuvant therapy to prevent death after diagnosis of endometrial cancer,” said Dr Nevadunsky. “Furthermore, study of the mechanisms of action of statin therapy may help development of therapies targeted at the molecular level as well as nontraditional interventions such as dietary and exercise lifestyle modifications.”

There is a close association between the development of endometrial cancer and obesity, according to Dr Nevadunsky. “Hyperlipidemia and heart disease are common comorbidities of obesity for which statin therapy is used,” she said. “Antihyperlipidemic agents have been reported to improve survival in other cancer types and decrease cancer occurrences. The investigative team was interested in assessing the effect of statin therapy on overall survival of women diagnosed and treated for endometrial cancer.”

Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs and includes several types of malignancies that appear in the lining of the uterus. The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 50,000 new cases of endometrial cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, and more than 8,100 women will die from it. More than half of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer are in the 50-to-69-year age group.

In addition to Dr Nevadunsky, the research team from Montefiore and Einstein included Lori Spoozak, MD, Eugenia Girda, MD, Anne Van Arsdale, MD, Mark H. Einstein, MD, and Gary L. Goldberg, MD.