Current perspectives on statins as potential anti-cancer therapeutics: clinical outcomes and underlying molecular mechanisms

Ali Fatehi Hassanabad


Statins have been shown to inhibit cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in animal models. Various studies have also shown a decreased cancer-specific mortality rate in patients who were prescribed these medications. Statins inhibit 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway. Statins induce tumour-specific apoptosis through mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathways, which are activated by the suppression of mevalonate or geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) biosynthesis. However, there is no consensus on the molecular targets of statins for their anti-cancer effects. Several studies have been conducted to further assess the association between statin use and mortality in different types of cancer. In this review, current perspectives on clinical significance of statins in prevention and treatment of various types of cancers and proposed mechanisms are discussed.