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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Mar;77(3):458-65. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12210.

Statin use and risk of kidney cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies and randomized trials.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; Department of First Clinical Medical College, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.



Clinical studies have shown that statin use may modify the risk of kidney cancer. However, these studies yielded different results. To quantify the association between statin use and risk of kidney cancer, we performed a detailed meta-analysis of published studies regarding this subject.


A literature search was carried out using MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane database between January 1966 and October 2012. Prior to performing a meta-analysis, the studies were evaluated for publication bias and heterogeneity. Fixed effect and random effect models were used to estimate summary relative risks (RR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analysis were also performed.


A total of 12 (two randomized controlled trials, five cohort, and five case-control) studies contributed to the analysis. There was heterogeneity among the studies but no evidence of publication bias. Pooled results indicated a non-significant decrease of total kidney cancer risk among all statin users (RR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.71, 1.19). Long term statin use did not significantly affect the risk of total kidney cancer (RR = 1.01, 95% CI 0.83, 1.22). In our subgroup analyses, the results were not substantially affected by study design, confounder adjustment and gender. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis confirmed the stability of the results.


The findings of this meta-analysis suggested that there was no association between statin use and risk of kidney cancer. More studies, especially randomized controlled trials and high quality cohort studies with larger sample size and well controlled confounding factors, are needed to confirm this association in the future.

© 2013 The British Pharmacological Society.


kidney cancer; meta-analysis; risk; statin

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