LipoCol Forte capsules reduce the risk of liver cancer: A propensity score-matched, nationwide, population-based cohort study

Hsiang Chun Lai, Hung Jen Lin, Ying Hsiu Shih, Jen Wei Chou, Kuan Wen Lin, Long Bin Jeng, Sheng Teng Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


BACKGROUND: Liver cancer is among the top five most common cancers globally. Lipid-lowering drugs such as statins can lower the risk of liver cancer, but may also cause liver damage. LipoCol Forte capsules (LFC), a red yeast rice product, have demonstrated significant antihypercholesterolemic effects and a good safety profile in clinical studies.

AIM: To evaluate whether LFC lowers the risk of liver cancer in adults in this propensity score-matched, nationwide, population-based cohort study.

METHODS: We used data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database, which includes electronic medical records for up to 99.99% of Taiwan's population. LFC users and LFC non-users were matched 1:1 by propensity scores between January 2010 and December 2017. All had follow-up data for at least 1 year. Statistical analyses compared demographic distributions including sex, age, comorbidities, and prescribed medications. Cox regression analyses estimated adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) after adjusting for potential confounders.

RESULTS: We enrolled 33231 LFC users and 33231 non-LFC users (controls). No significant differences between the study cohorts were identified regarding comorbidities and medications [standardized mean difference (SMD) < 0.05]. At follow-up, the overall incidence of liver cancer was significantly lower in the LFC cohort compared with controls [aHR 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.86-0.95; P < 0.001]. The risk of liver cancer was significantly reduced in both females (aHR 0.87; 95%CI: 0.8-0.94; P < 0.001) and males (aHR 0.93; 95%CI: 0.87-0.98; P < 0.01) in the LFC cohort compared with their counterparts in the non-LFC cohort. The antitumor protective effects applied to patients with comorbidities (including hypertension, ischemic stroke, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, hepatitis B infection and hepatitis C infection). Those using LFC for more than 84 drug days had a 0.64-fold lower risk of liver cancer compared with controls ( P < 0.001). Compared with controls, the risk of developing liver cancer in the LFC cohort progressively decreased over time; the lowest incidence of liver cancer occurred in LFC users followed-up for more than 6 years (27.44 vs 31.49 per 1,000 person-years; aHR 0.75; 95%CI: 0.68-0.82; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: This retrospective cohort study indicates that LFC has a significantly protective effect on lowering the risk of liver cancer, in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-842
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 05 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

©The Author(s) 2023. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • LipoCol Forte capsules
  • Liver cancer
  • Retrospective cohort study
  • Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database


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