Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 53, Issue 8, pp 959–966 | Cite as

Statin use and pancreatic cancer risk in two prospective cohort studies

  • Tsuyoshi Hamada
  • Natalia Khalaf
  • Chen Yuan
  • Ana Babic
  • Vicente Morales-Oyarvide
  • Zhi Rong Qian
  • Jonathan Andrew Nowak
  • Kimmie Ng
  • Peter Kraft
  • Douglas Adam Rubinson
  • Meir Jonathan Stampfer
  • Edward Luciano Giovannucci
  • Charles Stewart Fuchs
  • Shuji Ogino
  • Brian Matthew WolpinEmail author
Original Article—Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract



Statins, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, are common lipid-lowering agents and may reduce the risk of several cancer types including pancreatic cancer. However, the association between statin use and pancreatic cancer risk has not been fully evaluated in prospective studies.


We studied the association between statin use and incident pancreatic cancer in 113,059 participants from the prospective Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Statin use was self-reported via study questionnaires and updated biennially. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for incidence of pancreatic cancer were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models with adjustment for potential confounders.


In total, 583 participants developed incident pancreatic cancer during 1.4 million person-years of follow-up. No difference was identified in pancreatic cancer risk for regular versus non-regular statin users (multivariable-adjusted HR 0.98; 95% CI 0.82–1.16). There was no significant heterogeneity in the association of statin use with pancreatic cancer risk between the cohorts. Similarly, longer duration of regular statin use was not associated with decreased risk of pancreatic cancer (Ptrend = 0.65). The results remained similar when we examined statin use status at baseline or accounting for 4-year latency period. We observed no statistically significant effect modification for the association of statin use with pancreatic cancer risk by body mass index, smoking status, or diabetes mellitus status (all Pinteraction > 0.21).


Regular statin use was not associated with pancreatic cancer risk in two large prospective cohort studies in the U.S.


Chemoprevention Cohort studies Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors Pancreatic neoplasms Risk factors 



The Nurses’ Health Study is supported by U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants: UM1 CA186107, P01 CA87969, and R01 CA49449. The Health Professionals Follow-up Study is supported by NIH UM1 CA167552. This work was additionally supported by NIH R01 CA205406 and the Broman Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research to K.N.; by the Robert T. and Judith B. Hale Fund for Pancreatic Cancer, Perry S. Levy Fund for Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, Pappas Family Research Fund for Pancreatic Cancer, NIH R01 CA124908, and NIH P50 CA127003 to C.S.F.; by NIH R35 CA197735 to S.O.; and by Hale Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, NIH/National Cancer Institute (NCI) U01 CA210171, Department of Defense CA130288, Lustgarten Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Noble Effort Fund, Peter R. Leavitt Family Fund, Wexler Family Fund, and Promises for Purple to B.M.W. T.H. was supported by a fellowship grant from the Mitsukoshi Health and Welfare Foundation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors would like to thank the participants and staff of the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for their valuable contributions as well as the following state cancer registries for their help: AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WY. The authors assume full responsibility for analyses and interpretation of the data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

535_2018_1430_MOESM1_ESM.docx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 57 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Gastroenterology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsuyoshi Hamada
    • 1
  • Natalia Khalaf
    • 2
  • Chen Yuan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ana Babic
    • 3
  • Vicente Morales-Oyarvide
    • 3
  • Zhi Rong Qian
    • 1
  • Jonathan Andrew Nowak
    • 5
  • Kimmie Ng
    • 3
  • Peter Kraft
    • 4
    • 6
  • Douglas Adam Rubinson
    • 3
  • Meir Jonathan Stampfer
    • 4
    • 7
    • 8
  • Edward Luciano Giovannucci
    • 4
    • 7
    • 8
  • Charles Stewart Fuchs
    • 9
    • 10
    • 11
  • Shuji Ogino
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Brian Matthew Wolpin
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oncologic PathologyDana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and EndoscopyBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  5. 5.Program in MPE Molecular Pathological Epidemiology, Department of PathologBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  7. 7.Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  8. 8.Department of NutritionHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  9. 9.Yale Cancer CenterNew HavenUSA
  10. 10.Department of MedicineYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  11. 11.Smilow Cancer HospitalNew HavenUSA

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