Statins, common cholesterol-lowering medications, may protect women’s hearts from damage caused during chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“Two types of cancer medications, anthracyclines and trastuzumab, are effective treatments for many women with breast cancer, however, the risk of heart muscle damage has limited their use, particularly in women who are at higher risk for heart problems because of their age or other medical issues,” said Husam Abdel-Qadir, lead author of the University of Toronto study.
“The mechanisms for these medications are essential to kill breast cancer cells, however, these processes can also damage the cells of the heart muscle, leading to weakening of the heart,” he said.
Previous small studies have suggested that women taking statins may have less heart muscle damage from these types of chemotherapy. The exact mechanisms of how statins protect against the cardiac cell damage remains unknown. It is believed that statins have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory actions. [Read more…]