Cholesterol drugs might treat cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New research shows that cholesterol drugs, called statins, might effectively treat cancer. There is new hope that statins can be used to treat cancer because they can block lipid modified proteins that cause cancer.

The study comes from University of Gothenburg researchers, and is published in the journal PNAS. In addition to blocking enzymes involved in metabolism, statin drugs that lower cholesterol also affect other lipids in the body that promote cancer.


According to Marc Pilon, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, "Our results support the idea that statins can be used in more ways than just to lower cholesterol." In addition to cancer treatment, the researcher says cholesterol lowering drugs are also useful to treat Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

Pilon teamed up with researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Southern Denmark to study the potential for cholesterol drugs to fight cancer, through the help of the non-cholesterol producing nematode C. elegans.

Cholesterol drugs, taken by millions of individuals to lower cholesterol can inhibit growth and development of cells, have been studied for their anti-fungal properties, reducing inflammation in prostate cancer, protecting against endometriosis, and now are found to potentially help treat cancer.