By DrBicuspid Staff

October 22, 2012 -- Statins, a cholesterol-lowering drug, appears to lower the risk of esophageal cancer, especially in patients with Barrett's esophagus, according to a meta-analysis being presented this week at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The meta-analysis, conducted by researchers from Mayo Clinic, combined data from 13 studies that included more than 1.1 million patients, of whom 9,285 had esophageal cancer. The analysis found statins lowered cancer risk by nearly one-third; the longer a patient was on statins, the greater the protective effect.

The researchers also analyzed aspirin's effect on reducing the risk of esophageal cancer. When they looked specifically at Barrett's esophagus, patients taking a statin and aspirin reduced their risk of esophageal cancer by 72%.

The results support a protective association between statin use and esophageal cancer, according to the researchers. Given the high mortality rates of the cancer these results support randomized trials to evaluate statins in patients who are at high risk of developing esophageal cancer, they noted.

Copyright © 2012

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