Improving Survival in Myelodysplastic Syndromes with Cholesterol-Lowering Statins

Researchers, led by Amber Afzal, evaluated the effect of statins in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) after preclinical data suggested anti-neoplasm activity. Their report, featured online at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, found that administering statins at diagnosis of MDS was associated with reduced mortality.

The retrospective analysis included a cohort of 6,878 patients with MDS from the SEER-Medicare database, 3,439 of which were on statin and 3,439 propensity-matched patients that were not. Cox hazards models were adjusted for demographics, SEER-Medicare MDS Risk Score (SMMRS), and low- or high-risk MDS treatments and used to evaluate the effect of statins on all-cause mortality.

According to the authors, non-statin patients were more likely to have higher-risk MDS at the time of their diagnosis. Notably, statin users had a 33% lower risk of death than non-statin users (95% confidence interval [CI], 25–45%; p <0.001). However, the researchers observed that the effect of statins on mortality diminished over time. In adjusted analyses, both low- and higher-risk MDS showed a significant reduction in mortality with statin use.

Ultimately, the authors’ findings added to the growing evidence for the use of statins in myeloid malignancies. In closing, they called for further trials to explore the beneficial effects of statin in patients with MDS.