Phase I biomarker modulation study of atorvastatin in women at increased risk for breast cancer
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), tamoxifen, and raloxifene that reduce the risk of breast cancer are limited to only estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. In addition, patient acceptance of SERMs is low due to toxicity and intolerability. New agents with improved toxicity profile that reduce risk of ER-negative breast cancer are urgently needed. Observational studies show that statins can reduce breast cancer incidence and recurrence. The objective of this prospective short-term prevention study was to evaluate the effect of a lipophilic statin, atorvastatin, on biomarkers in breast tissue and serum of women at increased risk. Eligible participants included women with previous history of carcinoma in situ, or atypical hyperplasia, or 5 year breast cancer projected Gail risk >1.67 %, or lifetime breast cancer risk >20 % calculated by models including Claus, Tyrer-Cuzick, Boadicea, or BRCAPRO. Patients underwent baseline fine needle aspiration (FNA) of the breast, blood collection for biomarker analysis, and were randomized to either no treatment or atorvastatin at 10, 20, or 40 mg/day dose for 3 months. At 3 months, blood collection and breast FNA were repeated. Biomarkers included C-reactive protein (CRP), lipid profile, atorvastatin, and its metabolites, Ki-67, bcl-2, EGFR, and pEGFR. Baseline genotype for 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoAR) was also measured. Among 60 patients evaluated, a significant reduction in serum CRP, cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and increase in atorvastatin metabolites in serum and breast FNAs was demonstrated. No changes were observed in other tissue biomarkers. This study shows that atorvastatin and its metabolites are detectable in breast samples and may lower serum CRP among women without hyperlipidemia.
KeywordsBreast cancer risk Statins Atorvastatin Breast cancer biomarkers
The study was funded by NCI-DCP# MDA05-6-01 contract grant. We thank Dr. Madhumita Ghosh for the critical reading and editing of the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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