Potential use of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) as radioprotective agents

Br Med Bull. 2011;97:17-26. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldq044. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Abstract

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are widely used in the therapy of hypercholesterolemia. Apart from their lipid-lowering activity, they have pleiotropic effects that are attributed to the inhibition of regulatory proteins, including Ras-homologous (Rho) GTPases. Here, we discuss the potential usefulness of statins to prevent normal tissue damage provoked by radiotherapy. Statins reduce the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic cytokines stimulated by ionizing radiation in vitro and alleviate IR-induced inflammation and fibrosis in vivo. The currently available data indicate that statins accelerate the rapid repair of DNA double-strand breaks and, moreover, mitigate the DNA damage response induced by IR. Furthermore, statins increase the mRNA expression of DNA repair factors in vivo. Thus, although the molecular mechanisms involved are still ambiguous, preclinical data concordantly show a promising radioprotective capacity of statins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / genetics
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects

Substances

  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Radiation-Protective Agents