The potential of statins as part of anti-cancer treatment

Eur J Cancer. 2005 Mar;41(4):516-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2004.12.009. Epub 2005 Jan 11.


Statins are known to reduce mortality related to cardiovascular diseases. In recent years, evidence has accumulated that statins also exert anti-tumour activity for which numerous potential underlying mechanisms of action have been suggested. Accordingly, several case-control studies showed a reduction in cancer incidence in patients treated with statins. Furthermore, statins interact synergistically with several anti-tumour treatments in preclinical studies. Until now, only a few clinical studies are available that explore the optimal dose, feasibility, and efficacy of statins applied as single agents to control the growth of existing tumours. Studies investigating statins as part of a multi-drug regimen are completely lacking. Nevertheless, the interesting pre-clinical anti-tumour activity of statins combined with a favourable toxicity profile warrant their further development as anti-tumour agents, in particular as part of multi-drug regimens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Synergism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • GTP-Binding Proteins