Atorvastatin inhibits pancreatic carcinogenesis and increases survival in LSL-KrasG12D-LSL-Trp53R172H-Pdx1-Cre mice

Jie Liao*, Yeon T. Chung, Allison L. Yang, Meng Zhang, Haonan Li, Wanying Zhang, Liang Yan, Guang Yu Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


There are several studies supporting the role of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors such as atorvastatin against carcinogenesis, in which inhibiting the generation of prenyl intermediates involved in protein prenylation plays the crucial role. Mutation of Kras gene is the most common genetic alteration in pancreatic cancer and the Ras protein requires prenylation for its membrane localization and activity. In the present study, the effectiveness of atorvastatin against pancreatic carcinogenesis and its effect on protein prenylation were determined using the LSL-KrasG12D-LSL-Trp53R172H-Pdx1-Cre mouse model (called Pankras/p53 mice). Five-week-old Pankras/p53 mice were fed either an AIN93M diet or a diet supplemented with 100ppm atorvastatin. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis with Log-Rank test revealed a significant increase in survival in mice fed 100ppm atorvastatin (171.9±6.2d) compared to the control mice (144.9±8.4d, P<0.05). Histologic and immunohistochemical analysis showed that atorvastatin treatment resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume and Ki-67-labeled cell proliferation. Mechanistic studies on primary pancreatic tumors and the cultured murine pancreatic carcinoma cells revealed that atorvastatin inhibited prenylation in several key proteins, including Kras protein and its activities, and similar effect was observed in pancreatic carcinoma cells treated with farnesyltransferase inhibitor R115777. Microarray assay on the global gene expression profile demonstrated that a total of 132 genes were significantly modulated by atorvastatin; and Waf1p21, cyp51A1, and soluble epoxide hydrolase were crucial atorvastatin-targeted genes which involve in inflammation and carcinogenesis. This study indicates that atorvastatin has the potential to serve as a chemopreventive agent against pancreatic carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-750
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • Atorvastatin
  • Chemoprevention
  • LSL-Kras-LSL-Trp53-Pdx-1 Cre mice
  • Mouse model
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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