Statin drugs are amongst the most commonly prescribed medications in America. Their primary role is in lowering high lipid levels to mitigate against the increased risk of heart disease associated with high lipids. However these same medications can have many other effects.

A recent study shows that in the laboratory melanoma cells that show genetic markers for the ability to metastasis, (spread beyond the skin), can have these genetic markers improved by exposure to statin drugs.

At the same time a chart review of 475 melanoma patients indicated that those taking statin drugs had a lower risk of developing metastasis compared to patients not taking statins. (24.7% for statin users vs 37.6% for those not taking statins.)

While this is all very preliminary, it suggests that taking statin drugs may do more than just protect your heart. They may lower the risk of metastasis in patients with melanoma. Obviously more research is needed to confirm this notion and calculate the risk benefit ratio of using statins in this way. None the less there is a good chance that a medication that has been out there for many years could help in the fight against melanoma.

Article Citation

Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Computational Drug Repositioning Identifies Statins as a Modifier of Prognostic Genetic Expression Signatures and Metastatic Behavior in Melanoma

J Invest Dermatol 2021 Jan 05;[EPub Ahead of Print], WY Yu, ST Hill, ER Chan, JJ Pink, K Cooper, S Leachman, AW Lund, R Kulkarni, JS Bordeaux