Statins reduce risk of developing HF from breast cancer therapies

Key chemotherapy treatments are known to have a negative impact on cardiovascular health, even leading to heart failure (HF) in some patients. According to new research highlighted by the American College of Cardiology, however, female patients taking statins may be at a lower risk of experiencing such complications.

The study, originally planned to be presented during ACC.20/WCC before the conference was moved to an online-only format, included data from more than 2,500 female patients treated with anthracycline and more than 1,000 female patients treated with trastuzumab. All patients were 66  years old or older, had no history of HF and were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer from 2007 to 2017.

Overall, taking statins was found to reduce the likelihood of developing HF over a five-year follow-up period by 58% for women being treated with anthracycline. For women being treated with trastuzumab, taking a statin reduced the likelihood of developing HF by 66%.

“To date, there has been limited evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of large-scale use of cardioprotective medications for patients with early stage breast cancer,” lead author David Bobrowski, a  medical student at the University of Toronto, said in a prepared statement. “Angiotensin antagonists and beta-blockers have only shown modest cardioprotective effects in clinical trials, and these medicines are sometimes poorly tolerated in this population given their side effects of fatigue and dizziness, which many patients already have from their cancer therapies or the cancer itself. Our results suggest that taking statins is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing HF requiring hospital-based care among women with early stage breast cancer who received one of these cancer therapies.”