Antileukemic properties of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors

Herman Van Besien, Antonella Sassano, Jessica K. Altman, Leonidas C. Platanias*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Statins are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors that act on the mevalonate pathway and inhibit synthesis of cholesterol, geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) and farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP). In preclinical studies, these agents have been shown to inhibit proliferation, trigger apoptosis and promote cell differentiation of leukemia. Proposed mechanisms include cholesterol deprivation and inhibition of isoprenylation of important signaling molecules. Case reports and early clinical studies suggest a therapeutic potential for statins in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the other leukemias there are limited clinical data, but in vitro studies provide a strong rationale for future studies involving statins. The effects of statins on the immune system may lend these agents to a role in allogeneic stem cell transplant. While many of the studies are early, statins have the future potential to be integrated into conventional chemotherapy regimens with limited side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2601-2605
Number of pages5
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Lymphoid leukemia
  • Myeloid leukemias and dysplasias
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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