Statins and cancer: current and future prospects

Cancer Lett. 2012 Nov 1;324(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.04.011. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Statins are inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-methylglutaryl (HMG) CoA reductase. They exhibit effects beyond cholesterol reduction, including anticancer activity. This review presents the effects of statins in vitro and their possible molecular anticancer mechanisms and critically discusses the data regarding the role of statins in cancer prevention. Finally, this review focuses on the use of statins combined with other chemotherapeutics to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Despite rare and inconclusive clinical data, the preclinical results strongly suggest that such combined treatment could be a promising new strategy for the treatment of certain tumor types.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors