CancerDrugs & Medications


As you already know, my love for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) knows no bounds! Simply enough, they do what they’re supposed to do—lower cholesterol and reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease. They work!

Very recently, I learned from colleagues, that in addition to impacting cardiovascular disease, “statins have been associated with a significantly lower risk of breast, colorectal, ovarian, pancreatic, lung cancers and lymphomas in observational studies!” Statins have previously unacknowledged biochemical properties that inhibit the growth of a variety of cancer cell types. This includes cancer of the “breast, stomach, pancreas, and prostate plus neuroblastoma, mesothelioma, melanoma, and acute myeloid leukemia.”

“A large number of clinical and epidemiological studies have described the anti-cancer properties of statins, but the evidence for anti-cancer effectiveness of statins is inconsistent.” There are “now plenty of data on the anti-tumor, cytostatic, and cytotoxic effectiveness of this class of drugs.” We now know that statin drugs can influence cancer progression by decreasing the “proliferation of cancer cells.” In other words, statins slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells and even kill them. Statins also enhance the effectiveness of cancer treatments and are recommended to accompany chemotherapy protocols. 

A huge study of statins and cancer-related deaths was done in Denmark between 1995-2009. “As compared to statin non-users, patients using statins prior to cancer diagnosis were 15% less likely to die from any cause or cancer [in particular].” That’s spectacular!

Dr. G’s Opinion: The information/revelation that statin-users are 15% less likely to die from cancer is just another of the ever-increasing reasons to take a statin drug. Of course, this statistic sounds good, but a 15% better chance of survival means there’s an 85% chance of a negative outcome. As the title of this blogpost states, the fact that stains have a positive effect on cancer outcomes is just another arrow in the statin quiver, and adds to the ever-lengthening list of the benefits of statin therapy. It has almost gotten to the place where taking a statin is like eating and breathing—you have to eat and breathe to survive. It would follow, then, that taking a statin would make breathing and eating better, too! 

References: Vallianou NG, Kostantinou A, Kougias M, Kazazis C. Statins and Cancer Anticancer Agents Med Chem 2014 Jun;14(5):706-712.

Jiang W, Zhu J, He XR, Jin W, He XY Statins: a repurposed drug to fight cancer. Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Jul 24;40(1):241.

Zaleska M, Mozenska O, Bil J. Statins use and cancer: an update. Future Oncology 2018 Jun;14(15):1497-1509.

“The Core Content Review” Fast Facts—Non-Lipid Statin Use. 2022 Nov;52(6):378-379.

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    1. Thanks, Chuck. I didn’t know it either until one of my former (before 1984) partners told me about it in a recent Zoom call. Hope you are well.

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