PHILADELPHIAThe combination of a common
cholesterol-lowering agent, lovastatin (Mevacor), with an NSAID may
be more effective than NSAIDs alone in the chemoprevention of colon
cancer, a new study shows. The data were presented at the American
Association for Cancer Research meeting.
We know that older people who take aspirin to prevent heart
attacks may also be protecting themselves against colon cancer,
said Banke Agarwal, MD, lead investigator. Now it appears that
individuals who also take cholesterol-lowering agents in the HMG-CoA
reductase family may be doubly protected.
Dr. Agarwal, a fellow in gastroenterology at St. Lukes-Roosevelt
Hospital Center and Columbia University, said that lovastatin, an
HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A) reductase inhibitor,
was found in two clinical trials, designed to study its effects on
coronary events, to reduce new colon cancer cases by 43% and 19%
during 5-year follow-up. We previously demonstrated that
lovastatin induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells, he said.
We now report that lovastatin augments apoptosis induced by
sulindac several-fold in three colon cancer cell lines.
The study suggests that adding lo-vastatin may allow use of lower
doses of NSAIDs so as to reduce the undesired GI effects associated
with NSAID use, he said.
This is a preliminary study, and larger more definitive studies
need to be done to confirm these findings, Dr. Agarwal