Taking statins - any of a group of drugs, which act to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood - can increase the chance of patients surviving cancer by up to 55%, suggests a new study.
Ange Wang, an author of the study, said that a daily dose of the cholesterol-busting drug could be a major weapon in the war on the disease. The research found that statins reduced the death rates at least by 40% among people with most common cancers such as breast, prostate, bowel and ovarian.
When all cancers were taken into consideration, those patients on the drug were 20% less likely to die.
The biggest difference was the 55% reduction for bone cancer sufferers. Professor Noel Clarke, of The Christie cancer center in Manchester, said the study added weight to the case for taking statins.
He added: "The balance of evidence says that statins have an anti-cancer effect."
Wang and her research team at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied 150,000 women.
An investigation by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey analysed death rates of 20,000 men with prostate cancer.
The findings were presented in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
However, the US studies did not show the drug prevents people getting the disease.