Are Statins Also Effective In Treating Ovarian Cancer?

Cancer has a pretty complicated history with statins, a class of drugs that are most commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. In the past, laboratory tests involving statins have also been shown to be effective in battling cancer cells, which is great!

Unfortunately, these laboratory tests should be taken with a grain of salt because when it came to testing statins in real life cancer patients, it wasn’t shown to be effective at all.

Recent research, however, clears up this confusion and also offers insight into how these types of clinical trials can be improved upon.

Leader of this research and co-author of the published paper that describes it, Dr. Alan Richardson, explains that this “paradox” in statin treatment may be explained by the limiting nature of these drugs. He explains that

“for statins to be effective as a cancer therapy, the right statin needs to be used, it needs to be delivered at the right dose and interval, and diet needs to be controlled to reduce sources of geranylgeraniol.”

Specifically, the leaders of this study at Keele University found that the specific statin, pitavastatin, is particularly well-suited to treat cells in ovarian cancer. This is probably due to the fact that pitavastatin has a lengthy metabolic half-life as well as a structure that causes it to be a great inhibitor of tumor development in mice.
As noted above, in addition to these findings, researchers also concluded that diet has the potential to inhibit the overall effectiveness of this treatment.

For example, the tumor-inhibiting effects of pitavastatin were found to be reduced when there was dietary geranylgeraniol present. This occurs because statins work by preventing cancer cells from geranylgeraniol, but this substance can be found in particular types of foods, such as sunflower oil and types of rice. Thus, for pitavastatin to work, doctors must work with patients to conceive a diet that limits geranylgeraniol intake.

Dr. Richardson and his team are looking forward to taking their research to the next step and executing full-scale clinical trials with human participants. What comes from that may be the next big breakthrough in the currently limited world of ovarian cancer treatment. They believe that now, with all of this new information in mind, clinical trials that test pitavastatin can be adequately designed and executed.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of statin cancer research is how relatively inexpensive the drug would be for cancer patients since a generic version of the drug is already available. This could greatly reduce the weight of medical bills for patients that must undergo extremely expensive therapies to treat their cancer.

For those affected by ovarian cancer, keep your eyes peeled for what happens here next, as Dr. Richardson’s team is in the early stages of developing clinical trials for statins.

To read more about this research from Science Daily, click here.

Follow us