A new study found that breast cancer patients who take cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs during adjuvant endocrine treatment had better health outcomes and more disease-free survival rates, according to MedPage Today.

The analysis shows that cholesterol-lowering medication brought a 21 percent improvement in disease-free survival and a 24 percent enhancement in breast cancer-free interval rates. The results were compared against breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant endocrine therapy without cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs.

Past research has also shown that cholesterol-lowering medications, mostly statins, bring better outcomes for breast cancer patients. The new study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study uncovered that antihyperlipidemic agents known to lower cholesterol levels led to a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence among patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in its early stages reported the Oncology Nurse Advisor. The researchers looked at more than 8,000 postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

“To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to support the beneficial effect of cholesterol-lowering medication on breast cancer outcome that is based on a large, international, prospectively conducted, randomized clinical trial of modern adjuvant endocrine therapy in postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer,” Signe Borgquist, MD, of Lund University in Sweden, and co-authors wrote in their research.

“The evidence from our observational study warrants consideration of a large prospective randomized clinical trial to confirm the value of cholesterol-lowering medication concomitant with endocrine treatment of breast cancer. Further elucidation of the effect upon outcome of the clinical interaction between cholesterol-lowering medication and endocrine agents — both widely used by patients with breast cancer — will provide exclusive insight to future trial designs.”

However, the study did not target any differences between statins and other cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs. The analysis of the randomized trial does provide more support to begin a clinical trial, said Don S. Dizon, MD, an American Society of Clinical Oncology expert.

Patients with early-stage hormone receptor-positive breast cancer may need to see whether any clinical trials are open and speak with their oncologists about cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs.

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