Author | Deborah L. Ornstein, MD


The Role of Statins in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

May 01, 2005

Statins inhibit the activity of the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterolbiosynthetic pathway, HMG-CoA reductase, and are widely prescribedfor lowering plasma lipid levels. Several statins have antitumor effects inexperimental models, and observational studies suggest that this anticanceractivity in the laboratory may translate into effective treatments and/orpreventive strategies for certain human cancers. This paper reviews thelaboratory and clinical evidence that statins have anticancer activity, discussesthe possible mechanisms by which tumor growth may be inhibitedby this class of drugs, and outlines strategies for the evaluation of theseagents in the prevention and treatment of human cancers.