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Statin use and risk of basal cell carcinoma

OBJECTIVE: We examined the association between statin use and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) risk. METHODS: We identified all members of a large integrated health care delivery system with a diagnosis of a histologically proven BCC in 1997. Subsequent BCCs were identified through 2006 from health plan electronic pathology records. Longitudinal exposure to statins and other lipid-lowering agents was determined from automated pharmacy records. We used extended Cox regression to examine the independent association between receipt of statin therapy (ever vs never, cumulative duration) and risk of subsequent BCC. To minimize confounding by indication, we conducted sensitivity analyses in the subset of individuals considered eligible for lipid-lowering therapy based on national guidelines. RESULTS: Among 12,123 members given a diagnosis of BCC who had no prior statin exposure, 6381 developed a subsequent BCC during follow-up. Neither ‘ever use of statins’ (adjusted hazard ratio 1.02, 95% confidence interval: 0.92-1.12) or cumulative duration of statin (adjusted hazard ratio 1.02/year, 95% confidence interval: 0.99-1.11) was associated with subsequent BCC after adjustment for age, sex, and health care use. Risk estimates did not change appreciably when the analysis was limited to the subset of individuals who met eligibility criteria for initiating statin therapy. There was also no significant association between use of non-statin antilipemics and subsequent BCC (adjusted hazard ratio 1.10, 95% confidence interval: 0.76-1.58). LIMITATIONS: No information was available for BCC risk factors, such as sun sensitivity and sun exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Among a large cohort of individuals with BCC, statin therapy was not significantly associated with risk of subsequent BCC.

Authors: Asgari MM; Tang J; Epstein EH Jr; Chren MM; Warton EM; Quesenberry CP Jr; Go AS; Friedman GD

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Jul;61(1):66-72. Epub 2009 May 21.

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