Laboratory research reveals how statins inhibit metastasis of some cancers
the ONA take:
Scientists have known that statins sometimes appear to have anticancer activities; however, they were not clear on what the mechanism was. Clinical trials on the use of statins as an anticancer drug have yielded mixed results.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine may have found how this effect works. Statins appear to interfere with the cholesterol synthesis process cancer cells need to reprogram themselves from an adherent state to a mobile state, thereby preventing metastases.
Most cancer deaths are caused by metastases rather than the primary tumor, making the interruption in this process a significant step in improving patient outcomes.
Cancer cell lines that contain the protein vimentin inside the cell, but do not display the protein E-cadherin on their surface, are particularly sensitive to statins. Eventually, clinicians may be able to test biopsy samples for this biomarker to determine if statins would be effective.
Although statins may not effective on their own, adding statins to the treatment of the primary tumor may prevent metastasis, and possibly prevent those cells that break away from surviving or reactivating in other parts of the body.
The researchers stress that these results were seen in a laboratory setting, and the process may work differently in the human body.
Clinical trials on the use of statins as an anticancer drug have yielded mixed results.
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