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Cholesterol-Lowering Meds and Breast Cancer Outcomes

J Clin Oncol; ePub 2017 Feb 13; Borgquist, et al

Taking cholesterol-lowering medication during endocrine therapy may help prevent breast cancer recurrence in hormone receptor-positive early-stage breast cancer, a recent study found. The Breast International Group (BIG) 1-98 Study is a phase 3, double-blind trial which enrolled 8,010 postmenopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive invasive breast cancer from 1998 to 2003. Systemic levels of total cholesterol and use of cholesterol-lowering medication (CLM) were measured at study entry and every 6 months up to 5.5 years. Researchers found:

  • Cholesterol levels were reduced during tamoxifen therapy.
  • Of 789 patients who initiated CLM during endocrine therapy, the majority came from the letrozole arm (n=176), and tamoxifen monotherapy (n=106).
  • Initiation of CLM during endocrine therapy was related to improved disease-free survival (HR, 0.79), breast cancer-free interval (HR, 0.76), and distant recurrence-free interval (HR, 0.74).


Borgquist S, Giobbie-Hurder A, Ahern TP, et al. Cholesterol, cholesterol-lowering medication use, and breast cancer outcome in the BIG 1-98 Study. [Published online ahead of print February 13, 2017]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2016.70.3116.