Statins as anti-cancer therapy; Can we translate preclinical and epidemiologic data into clinical benefit?

Discov Med. 2015 Dec;20(112):413-27.


Statins, the most commonly prescribed class of drug, have demonstrated effects beyond cholesterol reduction including anti-tumor and immunomodulatory properties. Several epidemiological studies have suggested an anti-neoplastic effect of statins evidenced by reductions in cancer incidence and cancer-related mortality. Clinical trials on statins as part of therapy for cancer have generated interest in the oncology community. Statins have been investigated for a variety of cancers, early and late stage, and in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. So far promising results have been reported with statin use in pediatric brainstem tumors, early stage breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), colorectal cancer (CRC), refractory or relapsed multiple myeloma (MM), and refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). There is still much investigation to be completed to determine which subtypes of patients benefit from statin therapy, how statins may potentiate other anticancer approaches, and the appropriate dosing schedule to use.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors