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Eur J Cancer. 2011 Apr;47(6):819-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.01.005. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Statins and prostate cancer: molecular and clinical aspects.

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Urology Department, Asklipieion General Hospital, Athens, Greece.


The field of the potential applications of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) beyond their unambiguous cardiovascular beneficial effects is steadily increasing. In this regard, statins have also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant and growth inhibitory properties. Regarding their role in carcinogenesis, both preclinical and clinical studies report conflicting results. Intriguingly, accumulating evidence suggests that statins may relate to decreased prostate cancer incidence and recurrence risk. However, data from clinical studies seem to be still weak and are confounded by several factors. Nonetheless, preclinical data suggest that statins might exert a chemopreventive role against prostate cancer by inhibiting the proliferation and inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells and also inhibiting angiogenesis, inflammation and metastasis. Cholesterol lowering as well as statin pleiotropy through inhibition of the synthesis of isoprenoids have both been implicated in their anticancer properties. In this review, we discuss the preclinical and clinical evidence supporting the preventive or potentially harmful effects of statins on prostate tumourigenesis and conclude that statins should not be recommended for the prevention of prostate cancer development or progression based on the current data.

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