Study Finds Statin Use Reduces Mortality Risk in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who take statins to help lower their cholesterol may also experience a reduction in mortality risk, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Kristen Marie Sanfilippo, MD, MPHS, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and authors collected data from the Veterans Administration Central Cancer Registry to identify patients diagnosed with MM between 1999 and 2013 who used statins (defined as the presence of any prescription for a statin within three months before or any time after MM diagnosis). Data were included for 4,957 U.S. veterans, 2,294 of whom received statin therapy.

Patients who also received statins saw a 21 percent decrease in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.79; 95% CI 0.73-0.86; p<0.001) and a 24 percent decrease in MM-specific mortality (HR=0.76; 95% CI 0.67-0.86; p<0.001), compared with patients who did not receive statins.

In addition, patients who were prescribed statins for longer durations had greater reductions in all-cause mortality:

  • 3-month use: 12% decrease (95% CI 0.80-0.96; p=0.004)
  • 6-month use: 16% decrease (95% CI 0.76-0.92; p<0.001)
  • 9-month use: 18% (95% CI 0.74-0.92; p=0.003)

The authors noted that the decreased morality remained significant across all sensitivity analyses. “Our findings suggest a potential role for statin therapy in patients with MM,” the authors wrote.

They also noted the mechanism of action behind the study’s findings, noting, “Statins directly inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway. This enzyme is upstream of the mechanism of action of bisphosphonates on the same pathway. Bisphosphonates are associated with a reduction in the risk of mortality in MM. Our findings support an association between statin use and reduced risk of mortality even after adjusting for bisphosphonate use.”

Source: Sanfilippo KM, Keller J, Gage BF, et al. Statins are associated with reduced mortality in multiple myeloma. J Clin Oncol. 2016 September 19. [Epub ahead of print]