Simvastatin curbs leukemia cell proliferation

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Last Updated: 2001-08-02 9:23:51 EDT (Reuters Health)

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – In vitro studies indicate that simvastatin alone or in combination with cytosine arabinoside can cause a significant reduction in the proliferation of myeloid leukemia cells, according to Israeli researchers.

Dr. Michael Lishner of Meir Hospital in Kfar-Saba and colleagues note that cholesterol and its derivatives are required in high concentrations by neoplastic proliferating cells.

To determine whether simvastatin, which interferes with cholesterol production, might possibly be of use in leukemia treatment, the researchers studied its effect on the proliferation of two lines of acute myeloid leukemia cells.

The tests were conducted using increasing concentrations of simvastatin alone or in combination with cytosine arabinoside, the investigators report in the July issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

Both the number of proliferating acute myeloid leukemia blasts and colony formations declined significantly after incubation with simvastatin. Furthermore, addition of cytosine arabinoside prompted significantly greater growth inhibition.

However, say the investigators, the combined effect "was additive rather than synergistic." Nevertheless, they speculate that the findings "may open new avenues in both the laboratory and clinical research of the treatment of leukemia."

J Investig Med 2001;49:319-324.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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