Cholesterol drugs could be used to fight breast cancer

Jul 5, 2014

Study finds connection between high levels of fat in the blood and breast cancer

Could a cheap, commonplace treatment for high cholesterol become a breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer?

Statins are already used by seven million people in the UK to battle cholesterol and reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. However, new research from British scientists claims that the drug could also be used to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The study, involving more than 600,000 women, found that breast cancer risk was almost doubled in those with high levels of fat in their blood. The result bolsters the theory that Britain’s most commonly prescribed drug could also help women avoid the country’s most widespread female cancer.

Rahul Potluri, of Aston University said: “We are potentially heading towards a clinical trial in 10 to 15 years to test the effect of statins on the incidence of breast cancer. If such a trial is successful, statins may have a role in the prevention of breast cancer, especially in high-risk groups, such as women with high cholesterol.”

While cancer experts are keen to strike a note of caution, Breakthrough Breast Cancer spokeswomen Caroline Dalton said: “This study is promising in that it may point us towards an important future development in our understanding of the disease.”

Around 50,000 British women develop breast cancer each year – four out of five of them in their post-menopausal years. Previous research has shown a strong association between obesity and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

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