Marketed drugs used for the management of hypercholesterolemia as anticancer armament

Onco Targets Ther. 2017 Sep 8;10:4393-4411. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S140483. eCollection 2017.


The design of novel pharmacologic agents as well as their approval for sale in markets all over the world is a tedious and pricey process. Inevitably, oncologic patients commonly experience unwanted effects of new anticancer drugs, while the acquisition of clinical experience for these drugs is largely based on doctor-patient partnership which is not always effective. The repositioning of marketed non-antineoplastic drugs that hopefully exhibit anticancer properties into the field of oncology is a challenging option that gains ground and attracts preclinical and clinical research in an effort to override all these hindrances and minimize the risk for reduced efficacy and/or personalized toxicity. This review aims to present the anticancer properties of drugs used for the management of hypercholesterolemia. A global view of the antitumorigenicity of all marketed antihypercholesterolemic drugs is of major importance, given that atherosclerosis, which is etiologically linked to hypercholesterolemia, is a leading worldwide cause of morbidity and mortality, while hypercholesterolemia and tumorigenesis are known to be interrelated. In vitro, in vivo and clinical literature data accumulated so far outline the mechanistic basis of the antitumor function of these agents and how they could find application at the clinical setting.

Keywords: antihypercholesterolemic agents; cancer; repurposing; synergism.

Publication types

  • Review