Dec. 21, 2006 -- Somepatients may fare better if they're not taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, Belgian doctors say.
Their findings focus only on bladder patients getting immunotherapy with the bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine.
The Belgian doctors included Paul Hoffman, MD, of the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels.
They reviewed the medical records of 84 bladder cancer patients who had gotten BCG immunotherapy.
The researchers followed the patients' medical records for nearly four years, on average, after BCG treatment.
During that time, those taking statins weren't more likely to have a bladder cancer recurrence.
But bladder cancer tumors became more aggressive in about half (53%, or 10 patients) of those taking statins, compared with nearly one in five (18%, or 12 patients) in those not taking statins.
The statin takers were also more likely to have their bladders surgically removed.
Eight patients taking statins (42%) had their bladders removed, compared with 9 patients (14%) in those not taking statins.
The study doesn't prove that statins were responsible for those results.
However, "our observations suggest that the discontinuation of statin therapy during BCG immunotherapy might improve the clinical outcome," the researchers write.