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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2011 Feb;336(2):496-505. doi: 10.1124/jpet.110.174870. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Anticancer efficacy of simvastatin on prostate cancer cells and tumor xenografts is associated with inhibition of Akt and reduced prostate-specific antigen expression.

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Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912, USA.


Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-associated death among men in the United States. There has been renewed interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of statins for cancer. Simvastatin, a widely used generic drug for preventing cardiovascular events, is well known for its effects on cellular proliferation and inflammation, two key processes that also determine the rate of tumor growth. Although a growing body of evidence suggests that statins have the potential to reduce the risk of many cancers, there are discrepancies over the pro- and anticancer effects of statins. In the current study, we sought to investigate the effects of simvastatin on the Akt pathway in prostate cancer cells with respect to the regulation of various cell functions in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Time- and dose-dependent effects of simvastatin on LNCaP (androgen-dependent) and PC3 (androgen-independent) cells indicate that treatment with simvastatin at concentrations as low as 25 μM was sufficient to inhibit serum-stimulated Akt activity. Akin to this, treatment with simvastatin significantly inhibited serum-induced cell migration, invasion, colony formation, and proliferation. Simvastatin-mediated effects on colony formation were rescued by adenovirus-mediated expression of constitutively active Akt (myristoylated Akt) in PC3 cell lines. A PC3 xenograft model performed in nude mice exhibited reduced tumor growth with simvastatin treatment associated with decreased Akt activity and reduced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Our findings demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of simvastatin for prostate cancer and suggest a link between simvastatin, regulation of Akt activity, and PSA expression in prostate tumors.

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