For several years more and more researchers have claimed that statin treatment prevents cancer. In their studies they have followed statin-treated patients for several years and found that they suffer less often from cancer than untreated patients.
However, they have made a serious mistake; they have not asked the participants whether they have continued the treatment. As we have described in the journal PLOS ONE, several studies have shown that more than 50% of the “patients” stop the treatment after 1-2 years. As cholesterol of most people on statin treatment is higher than normally, it is therefore impossible to know, whether it is the statin treatment or their high cholesterol which protect against cancer.
The latter is most likely, because as we have documented in a recent paper, many studies have shown that low cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of cancer. The usual explanation is that cancer cells need cholesterol and that it is the cancer which lowers it, but many studies contradict this interpretation. For instance, young people with low cholesterol have a greater risk of cancer several decades later. As almost all cells in the body are able to produce cholesterol, how can a few cancer cells be able to lower your cholesterol?
That statin treatment should be able to protect us against cancer is also contradicted by the trials, because in five of them cancer occurred more often in the treatment groups. A Japanese study is in accordance. Here the authors had prescribed statin treatment for almost 50,000 individuals with high cholesterol. Six years later the number of cancer deaths was more than three times higher among those with low cholesterol than among those with normal or high cholesterol.
Furthermore, in four studies of cancer patients it appeared that the number who had been treated with a statin drug was much larger than among healthy control individuals. It is also in accordance with the fact that all experiments on rodents have shown that statin treatment causes cancer.
The reason why high cholesterol protects against cancer is probably that LDL participates in the immune system by adhering to and inactivating all kinds of microorganisms, and several studies have shown that 20-30 % of all cancers are caused by bacteria or virus.
You can read more about this issue in our recent paper.