Researchers were concerned with metastatic breast cancer and wanted to decrease proliferation, and save innocent lives. For this, they found the help on statins. Statins are generally lipid-lowering agents. They decrease mortality due to metastatic breast cancer without affecting the growth of the primary tumor.
Though statins can’t be used for primary tumor cells but can be helpful when used in the adjuvant setting for metastatic breast cancer patients.
To study the effect of statins on cancer growth, scientists had to mimic metastasis. 2 mouse models were created to mimic spontaneous breast cancer metastasis to the lungs and liver. A 2-dimensional coculture model and 3-dimensional microphysiological system were created and used by scientists to mimic metastasis. A 2-dimensional model was in vitro and a 3-dimensional model was ex vivo and these models were created to mimic breast cancer metastasis to the liver.
The aim of constructing models was to see how statins directly impact the spread of cancer cells. Particularly, metastatic site. In the mouse models, the study revealed that statins were not able to slow the proliferation of epithelial cells but slowed the proliferation of metastatic cells. A study showed that in case of in vitro model, atorvastatin slowed down the process of proliferation, but this was only for mesenchymal cells, not epithelial cells. The emergence of dormant breast cancer cells was inhibited by atorvastatin when cells were stimulated in a 3-dimensional microphysiological system.
Historically statins have been used to treat hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular diseases but this latest research shows its effectiveness in inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells. Trials were conducted which proved that statins are really effective in inhibiting metastasis in breast cancer.