The statins: multifunctional antithrombotic and antineoplastic drugs

Semin Thromb Hemost. 2003 Jun;29(3):259-74. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-40964.


Statins are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and have shown remarkable activity in preventing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The versatility of statins is increasingly being appreciated, however, and lowering cholesterol is only one attribute among many shared by this class of drugs. Most statins appear to have antithrombotic activity that is unrelated to the ability to reduce cholesterol levels, and several have significant antitumor effects. This article reviews the laboratory and clinical evidence that statins have antithrombotic and anticancer activity, discusses the ways in which these two activities intersect, and proposes novel uses for statins for the treatment of conditions other than hypercholesterolemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors