Open Access Research article

Statin use and association with colorectal cancer survival and risk: case control study with prescription data linkage

Fatim Lakha1*, Evropi Theodoratou1, Susan M Farrington2, Albert Tenesa2, Roseanne Cetnarskyj3, Farhat V N Din2, Mary E Porteous4, Malcolm G Dunlop2 and Harry Campbell12

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK

2 Colon Cancer Genetics Group, Western General Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, UK

3 School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care, Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

4 South East Scotland Genetic Service, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:487  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-487

Published: 22 October 2012



In Scotland colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer and a leading cause of cancer death. Epidemiological studies have reported conflicting associations between statins and CRC risk and there is one published report of the association between statins and CRC survival.


Analysis was carried out on 309 cases and 294 controls from the Scottish Study of Colorectal Cancer (SOCCS). Cox’s hazard and logistic regression models were applied to investigate the association between statin use and CRC risk and survival.


In an adjusted logistic regression model, statins were found to show a statistically significant association for three of the four statin variables and were found to not show a statistically significant association with either all-cause or CRC-specific mortality (OR 0.49; 95%CI 0.49-1.36; p-value = 0.17 and OR 0.33; 95%CI 0.08-1.35; P-value = 0.12, respectively).


We did find a statistically significant association between statin intake and CRC risk but not statin intake and CRC-specific mortality. However, the study was insufficiently powered and larger scale studies may be advisable.