Synergistic Actions of Atorvastatin With Gamma-Tocotrienol and Celecoxib Against Human Colon Cancer HT29 and HCT116 Cells

Int J Cancer. 2010 Feb 15;126(4):852-63. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24766.


The synergistic actions of atorvastatin (ATST) with gamma-tocotrienol (gamma-TT) and celecoxib (CXIB) were studied in human colon cancer cell lines HT29 and HCT116. The synergistic inhibition of cell growth by ATST and gamma-TT was demonstrated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and isobologram analysis. delta-TT exhibited a similar inhibitory action when combined with ATST. Mevalonate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate eliminated most of the growth inhibitory effect of ATST, but only marginally decreased that of gamma-TT; whereas farnesyl pyrophosphate and squalene exhibited little effect on the inhibitory action of ATST and gamma-TT, indicating protein geranylgeranylation, but not farnesylation are involved in the inhibition of colon cancer cell growth. Both mevalonate and squalene restored the cellular cholesterol level that was reduced by ATST treatment, but only mevalonate eliminated the cell growth inhibitory effect, suggesting that the cholesterol level in cells does not play an essential role in inhibiting cancer cell growth. Protein level of HMG-CoA reductase increased after ATST treatment, and the presence of gamma-TT attenuated the elevated level of HMG-CoA reductase. ATST also decreased membrane-bound RhoA, possibly due to a reduced level of protein geranylgeranylation; addition of gamma-TT enhanced this effect. The mediation of HMG-CoA reductase and RhoA provides a possible mechanism for the synergistic action of ATST and gamma-TT. The triple combination of ATST, gamma-TT and CXIB showed a synergistic inhibition of cancer cell growth in MTT assays. The synergistic action of these three compounds was also illustrated by their induction of G(0)/G(1) phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Atorvastatin
  • Celecoxib
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromans / therapeutic use*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Drug Synergism
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Mevalonic Acid / metabolism
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use


  • Chromans
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Polyisoprenyl Phosphates
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrroles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Vitamin E
  • plastochromanol 8
  • Atorvastatin
  • Celecoxib
  • geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate
  • Mevalonic Acid