Pitavastatin inhibits azoxymethane-induced colonic preneoplastic lesions in C57BL/KsJ-db/db obese mice

Cancer Sci. 2010 Jul;101(7):1701-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2010.01579.x. Epub 2010 Mar 25.


Obesity and related metabolic abnormalities are risk factors for colorectal cancer. A state of chronic inflammation and adipocytokine imbalance may play a role in colorectal carcinogenesis. Statins, which are commonly used for the treatment of hyperlipidemia, are known to possess anti-inflammatory effects. Statins also exert chemopreventive properties against various cancers. The present study examined the effects of pitavastatin, a recently developed lipophilic statin, on the development of azoxymethane (AOM)-initiated colonic premalignant lesions in C57BL/KsJ-db/db (db/db) obese mice. Male db/db mice were administrated weekly subcutaneous injections of AOM (15 mg/kg body weight) for 4 weeks and then were subsequently fed a diet containing 1 ppm or 10 ppm pitavastatin for 8 weeks. Feeding with either dose of pitavastatin significantly reduced the number of colonic premalignant lesions, beta-catenin accumulated crypts, by inhibiting proliferation and the surrounding inflammation. Pitavastatin increased the serum levels of adiponectin while conversely decreasing the serum levels of total cholesterol, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-18, and leptin. Pitavastatin also caused a significant increase in the expression of phosphorylated form of the AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) protein on the colonic mucosa of AOM-treated mice. In addition, the expression levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-18, and COX-2 mRNAs on the colonic mucosa of AOM-treated mice were decreased by treatment with this agent. These findings suggest that pitavastatin attenuates chronic inflammation and improves the imbalance of adipocytokines, both of which are caused by the presence of excess adipose tissues, thereby preventing the development of colonic premalignancies in an obesity-related colon cancer model. Therefore, some types of statins, including pitavastatin, may be a useful chemoprevention modality for colon cancer in obese individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azoxymethane / toxicity*
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / complications
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cytokines / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use*


  • Carcinogens
  • Cytokines
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Quinolines
  • pitavastatin
  • Azoxymethane