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Coimbra M, Banciu M, Fens MH, de Smet L, Cabaj M, Metselaar JM, Storm G, Schiffelers RM. . Liposomal pravastatin inhibits tumor growth by targeting cancer-related inflammation. . J Control Release, 148(3), pp. 303-10, 2010.

Abstract: The chronic inflammatory environment of tumors is a target for novel antitumor therapeutic strategies. Besides cholesterol lowering effects, statins have been studied for their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. These pleiotropic effects result mainly from the altered post-translational modification of GTP-binding proteins which regulate many intracellular pathways involved in cell growth and survival. Although pre-clinical studies suggest that statins may be effective anticancer agents required doses that are 100 to 500 fold higher than those needed to lower cholesterol levels. Furthermore, in view of their wide-ranging effects on cellular metabolism, target site-specific delivery is preferred. In this study, we investigated tumor-specific delivery of pravastatin using small long-circulating liposomes. In vitro studies on the effects of (liposomal) pravastatin on viability and proliferation of tumor cells, endothelial cells and macrophages revealed that the latter were the most sensitive cell type towards (liposomal) pravastatin treatment. In vivo, liposome-encapsulated pravastatin (5mg/kg) inhibited murine B16F10-melanoma growth over 70% as compared to free pravastatin, which was ineffective. As expected, treatments did not influence serum cholesterol levels within the time frame of the study. At 48h post-injection, 3&#956;g of pravastatin could still be recovered from the tumors of liposomal pravastatin treated mice, whereas pravastatin could not be detected in tumors of the free drug treated mice (i.e. <20ng). In contrast to the free drug, liposomal pravastatin treatment effectively inhibited the production of several pro-inflammatory/pro-angiogenic mediators involved in inflammation and angiogenesis, out of a range of a panel of 24 proteins studied. Furthermore, liposomal pravastatin treatment increased MHC class I protein expression in the tumor tissue whereas free drug showed no effect. Taken together, targeted delivery of statins can improve their tumor growth inhibiting activity by increasing local drug concentration and direct modulation of macrophage function. The antitumor activity seems to result primarily from a local inhibition of tumor inflammation and stimulation of antitumor immune response.

Keywords: Statin, Liposome, Inflammation, Angiogenesis, MHC class I, Cancer

URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20869410

Posted by Manuela Banciu

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