Statin drugs to reduce breast cancer recurrence and mortality 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis

Colin H. Beckwitt, Adam Brufsky, Zoltán N. Oltvai, Alan Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Epidemiologic studies have, variably, shown the concomitant use of statin drugs to be beneficial to cancer outcomes. Statin drugs have been FDA approved for three decades for the treatment of high cholesterol and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and are widely used. This has engendered studies as to their influence on concomitant diseases, including cancers. In this context, statin use has been correlated, variably, with a decrease in deaths from breast cancer. However, there is no extant model for this effect, and the extent of efficacy is open to question. The overarching goal of this article is to communicate to the reader of the potential of statins to reduce breast cancer progression and mortality. This is the use as a secondary prevention measure, and not as a therapy to directly counter active cancer. First, salient aspects of statin pharmacology, as relates to cardiovascular disease, will be discussed. Second, the basic and clinical research studies that investigate statin usage in breast cancer will be presented. Additionally, statin effects in other cancer types will be included for context. Finally, proposals for future basic and clinical research studies to determine the role of statins in breast cancer management will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a VA Merit Award (AW) and NIH grants (TR000496 and 5UH3TR000496-05 – AW, and CA199947 – CHB).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Breast cancer
  • Lipophilicity
  • Metastasis
  • Prenylation
  • Secondary prevention
  • Statins


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