Diet May Be Reason Pitavastatin, a Statin, Failed to Arrest Ovarian Cancer in Clinical Trials, Study Says

Diet May Be Reason Pitavastatin, a Statin, Failed to Arrest Ovarian Cancer in Clinical Trials, Study Says
Pitavastatin, part of a class of statins widely used to lower blood cholesterol levels, was found to successfully target ovarian cancer cells and reduce tumor growth in mice, according to a recent report published in the journal Scientific Reports. But the study, “Dietary geranylgeraniol can limit the activity of pitavastatin as a potential treatment for drug-resistant ovarian cancer,” suggests that certain dietary compounds, like geranylgeraniol that is found in sunflower oil and some rice, may halt the anti-tumor potential of this statin. The finding could be significant, because statins have long been seen as a possible anti-cancer agents but failed to show benefits in studies involving actual patients. This research points to diet as a likely reason, and new clinical trials are being planned. Nearly 65 percent of ovarian cancers have high levels of hydroxymethylglutarate coenzyme-A reductase (HMGCR), a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of cholesterol. Because HMGCR contributes to the growth of cancer cells, researchers have hypothesized for a long time that targeting this enzyme could be a promising way to attack cancer — and its link to cholesterol led them to look at statins. But while preclinical studies have suggested that statins, which block cholesterol synthesis, have the potential to target cancer cells, these compounds have failed to show beneficial results in human clinical trials. Researchers at the Keele University in the U.K. had previously shown that this was due in part to the reduced stability and half-life of the statins used in the trials. Now, they fo
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