Statin use is independently associated with improved 3-year overall and disease-specific survival among renal cell carcinoma (RCC) surgery patients, according to a study published online ahead of print in Urologic Oncology.

“Our work adds to the increasing volume of literature, indicating a potential noncardiovascular cancer-specific survival benefit in patients on statins,” wrote the team of researchers led by Samuel D. Kaffenberger, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

The investigators analyzed data from 916 patients who had radical or partial nephrectomy for RCC (all stages) at Vanderbilt from 2000 to 2010. They noted if patients were taking statins at the time of surgery. The median follow-up was 42.5 months.

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The 3-year overall survival rate was 83% for statin users versus 77% for non-users. Disease-specific survival was 91% for statin users versus 84% for non-users.

Statin use at the time of surgery was significantly associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of overall mortality and a 52% reduction in the risk of early death from RCC.

“In the future, it will be important to assess in a prospective fashion whether this association translates into a survival benefit in patients undergoing surgery for RCC,” the investigators stated.

Statins are thought to exhibit a protective effect on the development of cancer and possibly cancer survival in some malignancies. A number of potential mechanisms could explain a survival benefit after RCC surgery, such as lower cholesterol (and thereby cancer cell) production, antitumor effects, biological effects, and drug effects. 


  1. Kaffenberger, SD, et al. Urologic Oncology, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2014.10.007