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Effect of statins on cancer in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  1. R P Young,
  2. R J Hopkins
  1. Schools of Medicine and Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr R P Young, University of Auckland, 73 St Stephens Avenue, Parnell, Auckland 1, New Zealand; robertyoung{at}

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We read with interest the article by van Gestel et al1 reporting a protective effect of statins on cancer mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and suggest here a plausible explanation.

Consistent with the literature, the study shows that COPD is associated with an elevated risk of lung cancer. Recently, we reported that COPD is pre-existing in 70% of lung cancer cases compared with 15% in unselected matched smokers.2 We agree with van Gestel et al1 that this link is likely to be secondary to a …

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  • Competing interests None to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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    Yvette R B M van Gestel Don Poldermans