Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the blood and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Statins are widely used in older people, including people with cancer. However, currently there is no information about the effect of statins on the survival of cancer patients. This study aims to see whether the use of statins affects the survival of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated with nivolumab.
A total of 219 patients with metastatic RCC and who were being treated with nivolumab were included in the study. 59 (27%) of these patients were using statins. The average overall survival time was longer for the patients on statins (34.4 versus 18.6 months) and the average time to when nivolumab stopped working and the cancer started growing again was also longer (11.7 versus 4.6 months). Statin use also improved survival in patients aged over 70 years. Overall clinical benefit was higher in statin users than non-users (71% versus 54%).
This study suggests that the use of statins along with nivolumab in metastatic RCC patients improved survival. However, larger studies are needed to confirm these results.