The cancer killing efficacy of standard chemotherapeutic agents such as cisplatin (CDDP) is limited by their side effects to normal tissues. Therefore, research efforts optimizing the safety and efficacy of those agents are clinically relevant. We did screen for agents that specifically protect normal human mesothelial cells against CDDP without reducing the cancer cell killing efficacy. Lovastatin was identified from the screen. Lovastatin at a pharmacologically relevant concentration strongly arrested the proliferation of normal cells, whereas cancer cells were less affected. CDDP-induced DNA damage response was not activated and normal cells showed enhanced tolerance to CDDP when normal cells were treated with the combination of CDDP and lovastatin. We demonstrate that interfering with protein geranylgeranylation is involved in the lovastatin-mediated CDDP protective effect in normal cells. In contrast to normal cells, in cancer cells lovastatin did not change the CDDP-induced response, and cancer cells were not protected by lovastatin. Furthermore, lovastatin at the pharmacological relevant concentration per se induced DNA damage, oxidative stress and autophagy in cancer cells but not in normal mesothelial cells. Therefore, our data suggest that lovastatin has a potential to improve the therapeutic index of cisplatin-based therapy.