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Keywords:

  • statins;
  • melanoma;
  • cohort study;
  • epidemiology;
  • cancer risk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer, with an estimated 68,130 new cases and 8700 deaths in the United States in 2010. The increasing incidence and high death rate associated with metastatic disease support the need to focus on prevention. The authors used data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) to assess whether 3-hydroxy-3 methylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitors (statins) are associated with a decreased risk of melanoma.

METHODS:

The study population consisted of 119,726 postmenopausal white women, in which 1099 cases of malignant melanoma were identified over an average (±standard deviation) of 11.6 ± 3.2 years. All diagnoses were confirmed by medical record review and pathology reports. Information on statin use was collected at baseline and during follow-up. Self-administered and interview-administered questionnaires were used to collect information on other risk factors. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Analyses investigated the association of any statin use, type, potency, lipophilic status, and duration of use with melanoma.

RESULTS:

Statins were used by 8824 women (7.4%) at baseline. The annualized rate of melanoma was 0.09% among statin users and 0.09% among nonusers The multivariable adjusted HR for statin users compared with nonusers was 1.14 (95% CI, 0.91-1.43). There were no significant differences in risk based on statin type, potency, category, duration, or in time-dependent models.

CONCLUSIONS:

There was no significant association between statin use and melanoma risk among postmenopausal women in the WHI. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.