Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45259. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045259. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

Use of fibrates and cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 long-term randomized placebo-controlled trials.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.



Fibrates comprise a class of well-established antilipidemic agents that significantly reduce cardiovascular events. Given the concerns of cancer with fibrate therapy, we undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the effects of fibrates on cancer outcomes.


We systematically searched Medline, Scopus, SCI Expanded, and the Cochrane Library for studies published up to 2012. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated a fibrate therapy compared with placebo, had a minimum duration of two years, and reported data on the incidence of and/or deaths from cancer during the trial. Reviews of each study were performed and the relative data were abstracted. Pooled relative risk estimates (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the inverse variance weighted approach. Subgroup, sensitivity and meta-regression analyses were also conducted.


Seventeen RCTs, involving 44,929 participants with an average follow-up of 5.2 years, contributed to the analysis. The degree of variability between trials was consistent with what would be expected to occur by chance alone. The quantitative synthesis of data retrieved from the RCTs was not indicative of a fibrate effect on cancer incidence (780 [fibrate] vs 814 [control]; RR = 1.02, 95% CI 0.92-1.12) or cancer death (385 [fibrate] vs 377 [control]; RR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.92-1.22). When the analysis was restricted to major RCTs, the results did not substantially change. Similarly, we found no evidence of differential effects by length of follow-up or type of fibrate. Insignificant results were also obtained for the role of fibrates in cancers of the respiratory tract, breast, colon, gastrointestinal tract, prostate, genitourinary tract, or in melanoma.


Our findings demonstrate that fibrates have a neutral effect on cancer outcomes. However, it is important to continue monitoring their long-term safety profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center