Cholesterol, statins and cancer

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2007 Mar;34(3):135-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2007.04565.x.


1. The link between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease is well-established. Emerging evidence is now forging a tantalizing link between cholesterol and cancer. 2. Results from a number of case-control studies have indicated that the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins, may reduce the risk of certain cancers, although this area certainly remains controversial. 3. Herein, the recent literature examining statins and cancer is reviewed briefly and the relationship between a key cholesterol homeostatic pathway and signalling pathways that are involved in carcinogenesis is discussed. In particular, how the sterol-regulatory element binding protein, Akt and Hedgehog pathways may converge in cancer is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cholesterol / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Membrane Microdomains / drug effects
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Risk
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins / physiology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins
  • Cholesterol
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt