Statins and cancer prevention

Nat Rev Cancer. 2005 Dec;5(12):930-42. doi: 10.1038/nrc1751.


Randomized controlled trials for preventing cardiovascular disease indicated that statins had provocative and unexpected benefits for reducing colorectal cancer and melanoma. These findings have led to the intensive study of statins in cancer prevention, including recent, large population-based studies showing statin-associated reductions in overall, colorectal and prostate cancer. Understanding the complex cellular effects (for example, on angiogenesis and inflammation) and the underlying molecular mechanisms of statins (for example, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A (HMG-CoA) reductase-dependent processes that involve geranylgeranylation of Rho proteins, and HMG-CoA-independent processes that involve lymphocyte-function-associated antigen 1) will advance the development of molecularly targeted agents for preventing cancer. This understanding might also help the development of drugs for other ageing-related diseases with interrelated molecular pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 / metabolism
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1