Statin exposure and risk of cancer in people with and without HIV infection

Roger J. Bedimo, Lesley S. Park, Fatima M. Shebl, Keith Sigel, Christopher T. Rentsch, Kristina Crothers, Maria C. Rodriguez-Barradas, Matthew Bidwell Goetz, Adeel A. Butt, Sheldon T. Brown, Cynthia Gibert, Amy C. Justice, Janet P. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective:To determine whether statin exposure is associated with decreased cancer and mortality risk among persons with HIV (PWH) and uninfected persons. Statins appear to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce cancer risk, particularly among PWH as they experience chronic inflammation and immune activation.Design:Propensity score-matched cohort of statin-exposed and unexposed patients from 2002 to 2017 in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), a large cohort with cancer registry linkage and detailed pharmacy data.Methods:We calculated Cox regression hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) associated with statin use for all cancers, microbial cancers (associated with bacterial or oncovirus coinfection), nonmicrobial cancers, and mortality.Results::The propensity score-matched sample (N=47940) included 23970 statin initiators (31% PWH). Incident cancers were diagnosed in 1160 PWH and 2116 uninfected patients. Death was reported in 1667 (7.0%) statin-exposed, and 2215 (9.2%) unexposed patients. Statin use was associated with 24% decreased risk of microbial-associated cancers (hazard ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.69-0.85), but was not associated with nonmicrobial cancer risk (hazard ratio 1.00; 95% CI 0.92-1.09). Statin use was associated with 33% lower risk of death overall (hazard ratio 0.67; 95% CI 0.63-0.72). Results were similar in analyses stratified by HIV status, except for non-Hodgkin lymphoma where statin use was associated with reduced risk (hazard ratio 0.56; 95% CI 0.38-0.83) for PWH, but not for uninfected (P interaction=0.012).Conclusion:In both PWH and uninfected, statin exposure was associated with lower risk of microbial, but not nonmicrobial cancer incidence, and with decreased mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2021


  • HIV
  • cancer
  • hypolipidemic agents
  • neoplasms


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