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June 21, 2006

Statins and the Risk of Cancer

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(23):2720-2722. doi:10.1001/jama.295.23.2720-b

To the Editor: We believe that the conclusion from the meta-analysis by Dr Dale and colleagues1 that statin therapy has no effect on prostate cancer should be viewed with skepticism. Although the study considered randomized placebo-controlled trials exclusively, these trials were not designed to assess cancer incidence or mortality. Only 3 of 26 trials reported specific prostate cancer incidence data (305 cases), and only 1 of 26 trials reported prostate cancer–specific mortality, with only 2 deaths. The duration of 17 of 26 trials in the meta-analysis was 4 years or less. For prostate cancer and other cancers with a prolonged clinical course, effects on incidence or cancer-specific survival would not likely arise during the study period; stage-specific indicators would be needed to observe any treatment effects.2