Statin use is associated with improved surviva lin ovarian cancer: A retrospective population based study

Alexandra Couttenier*, Olivia Lacroix, Evelien Vaes, Chris R. Cardwell, Harlinde De Schutter, Annie Robert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that statins could exhibit anticancer properties in ovarian cancer. Similar effects have also been reported in observational studies but their results remain inconsistent and could be impaired by methodological limitations. This study aimed to investigate whether statin use is associated with improved survival in ovarian cancer patients at the Belgian population-level. Methods: All patients with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2012 were identified from the Belgian Cancer Registry. Vital statuses were obtained from the Crossroads Bank for Social Security and ovarian cancer-specific deaths were identified from death certificates provided by regional administrations. Information on cancer treatments and statin use were retrieved from health insurance databases. Statin use was modelled as a time-varying covariate in Cox regression models to calculate adjusted hazards ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the association between postdiagnostic exposure to statins and overall- or ovarian cancer-specific mortality within three years after diagnosis. Adjustments were made for age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, comorbidities, cancer stage, and cancer treatments. Results: A total of 5,416 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer met the inclusion criteria. Of these 1,255 (23%) had at least one statin prescription within three years after diagnosis. Postdiag-nostic use of statins was associated with a reduced risk of overall mortality (adjusted HR = 0.81, 95%CI:0.72–0.90, p<0.001). In analyses by statin type, this association was only significant for simvastatin (adjusted HR = 0.86, 95%CI:0.74–0.99, p = 0.05) or rosuvastatin (adjusted HR = 0.71, 95%CI:0.55–0.92, p = 0.01). In subgroup analyses by statin prediagnostic use, the protective association for postdiagnostic statin use was only observed in patients who were also using statins before diagnosis (adjusted HR = 0.73, 95%CI:0.64–0.83, p<0.001). Similar results were observed for ovarian cancer-specific mortality. Conclusion: In this large nation-wide cohort of ovarian cancer patients postdiagnostic use of statins was associated with improved survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189233
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Alexandra Couttenier and Olivia Lacroix are fully funded by grants of Université catholique de Louvain - Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique - Pôle d’Epidémiologie et Biostatistique, via grant numbers UCL-2015-EPID-2022 and UCL-2015-EPID-2019, respectively. We confirm that we did not receive any additional funding for this study. We thank all the staff of the Belgian Cancer registry and all physicians, pathologists and data managers involved in Cancer Registration in Belgium for their dedicated data collection. We also acknowledge the Intermutualistic Agency (IMA) for providing health insurance data; the Crossroads Bank for Social Security (BCBSS) for providing vital statuses; the Belgian regional authorities for providing causes of death. We also sincerely thank Anne Kongs, MD (Agentschap Zorg and Gezondheid, Brussels, Begium) and Una Mc Menamin, PhD (Cancer Epidemiology and Health Services Research Group, Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland) for editorial assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Couttenier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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