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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Simvastatin suppresses breast cancer cell proliferation induced by senescent cells.

  • Author(s): Liu, Su
  • Uppal, Harpreet
  • Demaria, Marco
  • Desprez, Pierre-Yves
  • Campisi, Judith
  • Kapahi, Pankaj
  • et al.

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Cellular senescence suppresses cancer by preventing the proliferation of damaged cells, but senescent cells can also promote cancer though the pro-inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Simvastatin, an HMG-coA reductase inhibitor, is known to attenuate inflammation and prevent certain cancers. Here, we show that simvastatin decreases the SASP of senescent human fibroblasts by inhibiting protein prenylation, without affecting the senescent growth arrest. The Rho family GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42 were activated in senescent cells, and simvastatin reduced both activities. Further, geranylgeranyl transferase, Rac1 or Cdc42 depletion reduced IL-6 secretion by senescent cells. We also show that simvastatin mitigates the effects of senescent conditioned media on breast cancer cell proliferation and endocrine resistance. Our findings identify a novel activity of simvastatin and mechanism of SASP regulation. They also suggest that senescent cells, which accumulate after radio/chemo therapy, promote endocrine resistance in breast cancer and that simvastatin might suppress this resistance.

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