Statin Use for the Treatment Mechanism for Intractable Mutagenic Cancer

A team led by Professor Cho, Yong Beom, from the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Samsung Medical Center (SMC) and a research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) revealed the mechanism by which statins, used as a treatment for hyperlipidemia, can be applied to the treatment of Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS) mutant cancer.

KRAS mutations are one of the main causes of non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, it is difficult to treat because of its frequent mutation and complex structure. Immunotherapy, which is effective against most cancers, does not exert much power against KRAS mutant cancers.

The research team stated that KRAS mutant cancer was selectively removed and peripheral immune cells were activated by administering a combination of anticancer drug (oxaliplatin) and a statin drug to a tumor of an animal model. Moreover, statins enhanced the effectiveness of existing anticancer immunotherapy by changing the environment around the cancer that were previously resistant to existing anticancer immunotherapy.

This study confirmed the potential for drug reinvention of statins.

Researchers plan to study the optimal use and effective drug delivery system through additional clinical studies.

This research was carried out as joint research between SMC-KIST from 2019 to 2020, and the results of this study were published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.