Purpose: The benefits of statin treatment for preventing cardiac disease are well established. However, preclinical studies suggested that statins may influence mammary cancer growth, but the clinical evidence is still inconsistent. We, therefore, performed an updated meta-analysis to provide a precise estimate of the risk of breast cancer in individuals undergoing statin therapy. Methods: For this meta-analysis, we searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Embase, and CINAHL for published studies up to January 31, 2017. Articles were included if they (1) were published in English; (2) had an observational study design with individual-level exposure and outcome data, examined the effect of statin therapy, and reported the incidence of breast cancer; and (3) reported estimates of either the relative risk, odds ratios, or hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We used random-effect models to pool the estimates. Results: Of 2754 unique abstracts, 39 were selected for full-text review, and 36 studies reporting on 121,399 patients met all inclusion criteria. The overall pooled risks of breast cancer in patients using statins were 0.94 (95% CI 0.86–1.03) in random-effect models with significant heterogeneity between estimates (I2 = 83.79%, p = 0.0001). However, we also stratified by region, the duration of statin therapy, methodological design, statin properties, and individual stain use. Conclusions: Our results suggest that there is no association between statin use and breast cancer risk. However, observational studies cannot clarify whether the observed epidemiologic association is a causal effect or the result of some unmeasured confounding variable. Therefore, more research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1053
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Heterogeneity
  • Meta-analysis
  • Relative risk
  • Statin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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