In recent years an increasing attention is focused on the potential effects of drugs on cancer incidence and/or
cancer survival. Many medications of common use, developed for a variety of medical non-cancer situations, have been
found to have potential anti- cancer effects. In this article, we performed an overview of the literature evidence for several
commonly used non-cancer medications, such as aspirin, beta-blockers, metformin and other anti- diabetics, cardiac glycosides,
anticoagulant heparin, statins, psychotropic drugs, vitamins, calcium and estrogens which have been shown to
have anticancer effects, in observational and experimental studies. A huge amount of data supports the idea that a few of
these commonly used medicines could decrease cancer death-rate, particularly aspirin, statins and metformin, crosswise
different types of cancer. To date, no mature data are available from randomized and prospective trials; perhaps, the results
of some studies underway will allow us to answer some questions on the possible use of these drugs in our clinical
practice in primary and secondary prevention, or even in adjuvant setting.
Aspirin, beta-blockers, chemoprevention, epidemiological studies, meta-analysis, metformin, statins.
UO di Oncologia, Fondazione Poliambulanza Via Bissolati 57, 25124, Brescia, Italy.