A recent study by researchers in Greece and published in OncoTargets and Therapy suggests that statins could possibly benefit kidney cancer patients when used in combination with anticancer drugs. The researchers report that high cholesterol levels and the growth of tumours are interrelated, and studies are now warranted to investigate whether some statins should be part of combination therapy in some tumour types. They also highlight that in vitroin vivo, and clinical data now support a potential role for certain cholesterol-lowering drugs in treating a variety of cancers.

Dr Michael Fradley, director of USF-Moffitt Cancer Center Cardio-Oncology Program, Tampa, Florida, USA said he thinks the idea is promising but it is too soon to know which statins would be effective and for which tumour type.

He said “We recognise that statins have many beneficial effects separate from lower[ing] cholesterol, including anti-inflammatory properties. There are some data suggesting cancer patients on statins may have mortality benefits, however this is quite preliminary. We need large prospective studies to more fully evaluate this question. However, if the patient is already taking a statin or needs to start the statin for an appropriate medical reason, then there may be an additional anti-tumour benefit. We will hopefully be able to answer this question more completely in the future based on data from several ongoing clinical trials.”

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