Conventionally, statins are used to treat high cholesterol levels. They exhibit pleiotropic effects, such as the prevention of cardiovascular disease and decreased cancer mortality. Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most common cancers, ranking as the third leading global cause of cancer-related deaths, and is mainly attributed to chronic Helicobacter pylori infection. During their co-evolution with hosts, H. pylori has developed the ability to use the cellular components of the host to evade the immune system and multiply in intracellular niches. Certain H. pylori virulence factors, including cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA), and cholesterol-α-glucosyltransferase (CGT), have been shown to exploit host cholesterol during pathogenesis. Therefore, using statins to antagonize cholesterol synthesis might prove to be an ideal strategy for reducing the occurrence of H. pylori-related GC. This review discusses the current understanding of the interplay of H. pylori virulence factors with cholesterol and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, which may prove to be novel therapeutic targets for the development of effective treatment strategies against H. pylori-associated GC. We also summarize the findings of several clinical studies on the association between statin therapy and the development of GC, especially in terms of cancer risk and mortality.
Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; cholesterol; gastric cancer; reactive oxygen species; statin.