The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, simvastatin, lovastatin and mevastatin inhibit proliferation and invasion of melanoma cells

BMC Cancer. 2008 Jan 16;8:9. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-9.


Background: A number of recent studies have suggested that cancer incidence rates may be lower in patients receiving statin treatment for hypercholesterolemia. We examined the effects of statin drugs on in vitro proliferation, migration and invasion of melanoma cells.

Methods: The ability of lovastatin, mevastatin and simvastatin to inhibit the melanoma cell proliferation was examined using cytotoxicity and apoptosis assays. Effects on cell migration and invasion were assessed using transwell invasion and migration chambers. Hypothesis testing was performed using 1-way ANOVA, and Student's t-test.

Results: Lovastatin, mevastatin and simvastatin inhibited the growth, cell migration and invasion of HT144, M14 and SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells. The concentrations required to inhibit proliferation of melanoma cells (0.8-2.1 microave previously been achieved in a phase I clinical trial of lovastatin in patients with solid tumours, (45 mg/kg/day resulted in peak plasma concentrations of approximately 3.9 micro

Conclusion: Our results suggest that statin treatment is unlikely to prevent melanoma development at standard doses. However, higher doses of statins may have a role to play in adjuvant therapy by inhibiting growth and invasion of melanoma cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lovastatin / analogs & derivatives
  • Lovastatin / pharmacology
  • Lovastatin / therapeutic use
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • mevastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Simvastatin