J Cancer 2017; 8(9):1655-1664. doi:10.7150/jca.19100 This issue

Research Paper

Lovastatin Inhibits Cancer Stem Cells and Sensitizes to Chemo- and Photodynamic Therapy in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Yikun Peng1, Guangchun He2, Da Tang3, Li Xiong3, Yu Wen3, Xiongying Miao3, Zhangyong Hong4, Hui Yao2, Chao Chen2, Shichao Yan2, Lu Lu2, Yingke Yang5, Qinglong Li3✉, Xiyun Deng2✉

1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, Guiyang, Guizhou, China;
2. Medical College, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan, China;
3. Department of General Surgery, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China;
4. State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin, China;
5. College of Biology, Hunan University, Changsha, Hunan 410082, China.

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Peng Y, He G, Tang D, Xiong L, Wen Y, Miao X, Hong Z, Yao H, Chen C, Yan S, Lu L, Yang Y, Li Q, Deng X. Lovastatin Inhibits Cancer Stem Cells and Sensitizes to Chemo- and Photodynamic Therapy in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. J Cancer 2017; 8(9):1655-1664. doi:10.7150/jca.19100. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v08p1655.htm

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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an Epstein-Barr virus-associated malignancy occurring at high incidence in Southeast Asia and southern China. In spite of the good response to radio- and chemo-therapy at the early stage, resistance and recurrence develop in NPC patients in the advanced setting. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play an important role in drug resistance and cancer recurrence. Here we report that lovastatin, a natural compound and a lipophilic statin that has already been used in the clinic to treat hypercholesterolemia, inhibited the CSC properties and induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in sphere-forming cells derived from the 5-8F and 6-10B NPC cell lines. Furthermore, lovastatin conferred enhanced sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic and photodynamic agents in NPC CSCs. Together our findings suggest that targeting CSCs by lovastatin in combination with routine chemotherapeutic drugs or photodynamic therapy might be a promising approach to the treatment of NPC.

Keywords: Lovastatin, Cancer stem cells, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Chemotherapy, Photodynamic therapy.