Evaluation of toxic effects of statins and their possible role in treatment of cancer

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ISTANBUL JOURNAL OF PHARMACY, vol.51, no.1, pp.154-160, 2021 (ESCI) identifier


Hydroxymethyl glutaryl CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) are drugs that show hypolipidemic effect via inhibition of hydroxymethyl glutaryl CoA reductase (HMG CoA R), a rate-limiting step in the synthesis of cholesterol. The effects of statins, independent of lipid-lowering ones , are termed pleiotropic effects and these have gained importance in recent years. Potential anticancer effect, one of the pleotropic effects of statins, is remarkable. In this review we aim to summarize the possible use of statins in the treatment of cancer. Pleiotropic effects include antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities due to inhibition of new vessel formation in cancer cells, reduction of resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and inhibition of the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with the induction of apoptosis. The potential anticancer activity of statins against different tumor models is emphasized in vitro and in vivo conditions. For this reason, current efforts are directed to providing therapeutic benefits from statins in the treatment of cancer. This study shows that statins can be effective in preclinical models in advanced or recurrent metastatic diseases when administered alone or in combination with molecularly targeted agents. Future studies may shed further light on this topic.