Statins, a class of commonly prescribed cholesterol‑lowering medications, have been revealed to influence the risk of multiple types of cancer. However, the antitumor effects of statins on pancreatic cancer and their differential efficacy among a variety of statins are not currently well‑defined. The aim of the present study was therefore to identify and compare the genes and related biological pathways that were affected by each individual statin on pancreatic cancer. Two human pancreatic cancer cell lines, MiaPaCa2 and PANC1, were exposed to three statins, lovastatin, fluvastatin and simvastatin. The inhibitory effect of statins on pancreatic cancer cell proliferation was first validated. Next, RNA‑seq analysis was used to determine the gene expression alterations in either low (2 µM) or high (20 µM) statin concentration‑treated cancer cells. Marked differences in gene transcription profiles of both pancreatic cancer cell lines exposed to high concentration statins were observed. Notably, the high concentration statins significantly suppressed core‑gene CCNA2‑associated cell cycle and DNA replication pathways and upregulated genes involved in ribosome and autophagy pathways. However, the low concentration statin‑induced gene expression alterations were only detected in MiaPaCa2 cells. In conclusion, a marked difference in the intra and inter cell‑type performance of pancreatic cancer cells exposed to a variety of statins at low or high concentrations was reported herein, which may provide insights for the potential clinical use of statins in future pancreatic cancer therapeutics.
Keywords: statin; lovastatin; fluvastatin; simvastatin; pancreatic cancer; cell cycle; weighted gene co-expression network analysis.