Cholesterol and breast cancer development

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2012 Dec;12(6):677-82. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Aug 3.


Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring type of cancer in the world. Among the environmental factors believed to be responsible for this phenomenon, cholesterol has recently received considerable attention. Epidemiologic studies have provided inconclusive results, indicating that there may be a relationship between abnormal plasma cholesterol levels and breast cancer risk. However, more compelling evidence has been obtained in laboratory studies, and they indicate that cholesterol is capable of regulating proliferation, migration, and signaling pathways in breast cancer. In vivo studies have also indicated that plasma cholesterol levels can regulate tumor growth in mouse models. The recognition of cholesterol as a factor contributing to breast cancer development identifies cholesterol and its metabolism as novel targets for cancer therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Drug Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cholesterol