Statins may treat certain Breast Cancers

According to a study recently conducted Statins used usually to lower cholesterol levels can also be effective in treating certain types of breast cancer. The study conducted by international team led by Carol Prives of Columbia University, New York successfully treated breast cancer cells carrying a mutant p53 gene with statins when some of them died and others stopped growing in the disorganized manner. But there is a lot more to be done in this research before interpreting lab results into clinical success.

The international team briefed their findings in a report published in journal Cell online. Prives said to the press that it would be difficult for them to make any conclusion right now however there is a greater probability of successfully identifying subsets of patients to whom statins may prove to be beneficial in treating tumors. She also said that it is still a proposition and not clinical. Possibly someone can conduct a clinical trial and results may support findings or can also make it obscure.
Breast cancer

P53 is a basically suppressor gene that controls cell growth like stopping uncontrolled growth, keeping cells organized and other characteristics of tumors. Half the population has mutated p53 that not only interrupt the gene’s normal function but also encourages it rather than holding it back like the case of development of cancer.

Experiments conducted on mice showed that they die out of cancer when they lack p53 and developed even more aggressive cancer when they contain mutant form of p53. However the question still exists what mutant forms of p53 actually does and so Prives and the team decided to carry out the investigation further.

When they studied cancer cells growing in artificial system similar to 3D structure of human breast they found that cells with mutant p53 grow in invasive and disorganized way similar to human breast. However on lowering the amount of cells carrying mutant p53, it was observed that cells now grow normally in their 3D structure than before.

At the next stage of the studies carried out by William Freed Pastor of Columbia University and his team, they found a pathway called mevalonate pathway that caused changes in disorganized growth of cells carrying mutated p53. Also it was same one targeted by cholesterol lowering stains since it makes cholesterol.

Finally the co-authors from University of Oslo, Norway, Freed-Pastor and Prives studied breast cancer tissue from tumors in human patients and found that mutations in p53 and high rate of activity in mevalonate is similar as that of humans. Thus it was concluded that mevalonate pathway is associated with therapeutic target for tumors carrying mutations in p53. Still there’s a lot of work to be done in this regard, said Prives.

Statins may treat certain Breast Cancers
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