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Is antidyslipidemic statin use for cancer prevention a promising drug repositioning approach?

Kobayashi, Yusuke; Banno, Kouji; Kunitomi, Haruko; Nagai, Shimpei; Takahashi, Takayuki; Anko, Mayuka; Iijima, Moito; Takeda, Takashi; Matoba, Yusuke; Nakamura, Kanako; Tsuji, Kosuke; Tominaga, Eiichiro; Aoki, Daisuke

European Journal of Cancer Prevention: November 2019 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 562–567
doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000497
Review Article: Lifestyle

Novel pharmacological therapies are in development for cancer, ranging from conventional chemotherapeutic drugs to molecular targeted drugs, antibody-based drugs, and immune checkpoint inhibitors, which are developed using new technologies. However, the increasing cost of new drug development is increasing the costs of national healthcare and putting pressure on government finances worldwide. Under these circumstances, drug repositioning (i.e. discovering novel effects of existing drugs, thereby allowing their use to treat other diseases) has become a major focus because of reliability and cost reduction. It is becoming increasingly clear that statins (currently used for treating dyslipidemia) can be effective in the prevention of coronary disease, heart failure, and arrhythmia. Epidemiological as well as basic research studies and epidemiological surveys have showed that statins have a suppressive effect on cancers and that they have an antitumor effect on colorectal, prostate, breast, cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Given the pharmacological mechanism of action of statins, they may have an antitumor effect on cancer types in which the mevalonate pathway is activated as well as on tumors with p53 mutations. To investigate this further, it would be necessary to conduct a large-scale survey after confirming the clinical background of patients as well as their mutational status, and therefore, great hope has been placed on the role of academia and public institutions. Thus, there is an urgent need for researchers to be actively involved in investigator-initiated clinical trials.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Received 20 July 2018 Accepted 1 October 2018

Correspondence to Yusuke Kobayashi, PhD, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, 160–8582 Tokyo, Japan, Tel: + 81 333 531 211; fax: +81 333 530 249; e-mail:

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