Statins have anti-inflammatory effects, modify endothelial function and improve peripheral insulin resistance. We hypothesized that statins influence the development of new-onset diabetes mellitus in renal transplant recipients. The records of all previously non-diabetic adults who received an allograft in Toronto between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2001 were reviewed with follow-up through December 31, 2002. All patients receiving cyclosporine or tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil and prednisone were included. New-onset diabetes was diagnosed by the Canadian Diabetic Association criteria: fasting plasma glucose > or =7.0 mmol/L or 2-h postprandial glucose > or =11.1 mmol/L on more than two occasions. Statin use prior to diabetes development was recorded along with other variables. Cox proportional hazards models analyzing statin use as a time-dependent covariate were performed. Three hundred fourteen recipients met study criteria, of whom 129 received statins. New-onset diabetes incidence was 16% (n = 49). Statins (p = 0.0004, HR 0.238[0.109-0.524]) and ACE inhibitors/ARB (p = 0.01, HR 0.309[0.127-0.750]) were associated with decreased risk. Prednisone dose (p = 0.0001, HR 1.007[1.003-1.010] per 1 mg/d at 3 months), weight at transplant (p = 0.02, HR 1.022[1.003-1.042] per 1 kg), black ethnicity (p = 0.02, HR 1.230[1.023-1.480]) and age > or =45 years (p = 0.01, HR 2.226[1.162-4.261]) were associated with increased diabetes. Statin use is associated with reduced new-onset diabetes development after renal transplantation.