Therapeutic effects of statins against lung adenocarcinoma via p53 mutant-mediated apoptosis

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 31;9(1):20403. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56532-6.


The p53 gene is an important tumour suppressor gene. Mutant p53 genes account for about half of all lung cancer cases. There is increasing evidence for the anti-tumour effects of statins via inhibition of the mevalonate pathway. We retrospectively investigated the correlation between statin use and lung cancer prognosis using the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database, mainly focusing on early-stage lung cancer. This study reports the protective effects of statin use in early-stage lung cancer patients regardless of chemotherapy. Statin treatments reduced the 5-year mortality (odds ratio, 0.43; P < 0.001) in this population-based study. Significantly higher levels of cellular apoptosis, inhibited cell growth, and regulated lipid raft content were observed in mutant p53 lung cancer cells treated with simvastatin. Further, simvastatin increased the caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway, promotes mutant p53 protein degradation, and decreased motile activity in lung cancer cells with p53 missense mutations. These data suggest that statin use in selected lung cancer patients may have clinical benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Membrane Microdomains / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology
  • Survival Rate
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Simvastatin