No survival benefit from adding statins to lung cancer treatment

Adding pravastatin to platinum-based chemotherapy offered no benefit to survival compared with placebo, researchers report.

Blister pack of pravastatin

Recent research has indicated that statins can inhibit tumour growth and might work in an additive or synergistic fashion with anticancer chemotherapy.

A team from Imperial College London and University College London carried out a placebo-controlled trial involving 846 patients with small-cell lung cancer to explore whether adding pravastatin to platinum-based chemotherapy (etoposide plus cisplatin or carboplatin) could improve patient outcomes.

The researchers found that, although safe, pravastatin conferred no benefit with regards to overall survival or progression-free survival compared with placebo.

Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Oncology
(online, 27 February 2017), they say that the findings concur with recent smaller studies of statins in other cancer types.

The team concludes that the results should make investigators think carefully about the merits of designing new trials using statins in cancer treatment.


[1] Seckl MJ, Ottensmeier CH, Cullen M et al. Multicenter, phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial of pravastatin added to first-line standard chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer (LUNGSTAR). J Clin Oncol 2017. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.69.7391

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, April 2017, Vol 9, No 4;9(4):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202449

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