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Statins and fibrates no help against melanoma

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) Although there was thought to be an association between use of cholesterol-lowering statins and fibrates and a reduced risk of melanoma, a meta-analyses of trials of such drugs does not bear out this apparent connection, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers point out in the paper that case-control studies suggest that statins, like lovastatin, and fibrate drugs, like gemfibrozil, may reduce the risk of melanoma, and there's ''promising evidence from in vitro and animal models.'' However, as senior investigator Dr. Robert P Dellavalle told Reuters Health: ''Our study showed that the standard doses of medications used to treat high cholesterol -- statins and fibrates -- do not prevent melanoma.'' Dellavalle, of the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Aurora and colleagues came to this conclusion after examining pooled data from 20 randomized controlled trials -- 12 for statins and 8 for fibrates -- involving almost 71,000 participants.

Overall, there were 154 melanomas. However, their occurrence was not statistically significantly associated with use of statins or use of fibrates.

Only one study, involving over 3300 participants, showed that lovastatin use was associated with a significantly lower incidence of melanoma.

The researchers conclude that the findings ''do not validate the possibility that statins or fibrates prevent melanoma.'' Nevertheless, concluded Dellavalle, ''the possibility remains that these medications... might improve responses to therapy in patients with melanoma, if combined with chemotherapy.'' REUTERS SB BST0957

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