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Abstract Purpose Statins are the most widely prescribed cholesterol lowering medications and have been associated with both improved and unchanged breast cancer outcomes in previous studies. This study examines the association between the post-diagnostic use of statins and breast cancer outcomes (death and recurrence) in a large, representative sample of New Zealand (NZ) women with breast cancer. Methods Women diagnosed with a first primary breast cancer between 2007 and 2016 were identified from four population-based regional NZ breast cancer registries and linked to national pharmaceutical data, hospital discharges, and death records. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the hazard of breast cancer-specific death (BCD) associated with any post-diagnostic statin use. Results Of the 14,976 women included in analyses, 27% used a statin after diagnosis and the median follow up time was 4.51 years. Statin use (vs non-use) was associated with a statistically significant decreased risk of BCD (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.74; 0.63–0.86). The association was attenuated when considering a subgroup of ‘new’ statin users (HR: 0.91; 0.69–1.19), however other analyses revealed that the protective effect of statins was more pronounced in estrogen receptor positive patients (HR: 0.77; 0.63–0.94), postmenopausal women (HR: 0.74; 0.63–0.88), and in women with advanced stage disease (HR: 0.65; 0.49–0.84). Conclusion In this study, statin use was associated with a statistically significant decreased risk of breast cancer death, with subgroup analyses revealing a more protective effect in ER+ patients, postmenopausal women, and in women with advanced stage disease. Further research is warranted to determine if these associations are replicated in other clinical settings.

Original publication




Journal article


Breast Cancer Research and Treatment


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date





195 - 206