An analysis of the association between statin use and risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers in the Women's Health Initiative

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Gynecologic Oncology








Endometrial cancer; Ovarian cancer; Statins


© 2018 Background: Statins have anti proliferative activity in vitro against endometrial and ovarian cancer and can affect levels of reproductive hormones. We analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) to assess whether statins are associated with risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. Methods: The WHI study included 161,808 postmenopausal women in which incident cases of endometrial (n = 1377) and ovarian cancer (n = 763) were identified over an average of 10.8 (SD + 3.3) years. Information on statin use and risk factors was collected at baseline and follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of statin use and risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: Statins were used at baseline by 7.5% women and by up to 25% at year nine. The multivariable adjusted HR for risk of endometrial cancer for baseline statin use was 0.74, 95% C.I. 0.59–0.94 and for ovarian cancer was 1.15, 95% C.I. 0.89–1.50. In time-dependent models, statins were not associated with endometrial cancer (HR 0.91, 95% C.I. 0.76–1.08) however there was an increased risk of ovarian cancer (HR 1.30, 95% CI 1.04–1.62), largely attributed to the effect of the hydrophilic statin, pravastatin (1.89, 95% CI 1.24–2.88). Conclusions: There was a reduction in risk of endometrial cancer among statin users at baseline but not in time-dependent models. Pravastatin use was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Analyses of larger numbers of cases are needed to evaluate these findings.