Statins taken to lower cholesterol 'could help to kill aggressive tumours' in cancer patients
Anti-cancer drugs taken with statins can make treatments more effective
Yale University professor claims mixture mixture of drugs can kill tumours
09:02 GMT, 14 December 2012
They are commonly used to tackle high-cholesterol and protect against heart disease – but scientists in the U.S. claim that statins could also prove to be a secret weapon in the fight against cancer.
According to a new study, some anti-cancer drugs can become more effective when combined with the pills.
The mixture of drugs can kill aggressive tumours where other treatments have not been successful, it claims.
Secret weapon Scientists in the U.S. have claimed statins can boost the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs
Dr David Stern, of Yale University School of Medicine, examined potential drug combinations for treating resistant forms of the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
The professor of pathology said using statins together with certain cancer drugs worked against some types of melanoma, according to the Daily Express.
He claimed his findings could help to address the problem of cancer patients becoming resistant to treatments.
'Some patients who have a specific cancer-driving genetic mutation never respond to the matching drug, while nearly all those who initially respond eventually become resistant to the effects of the drug and their cancers relapse,' he said.
Dr Stern believes the use of combinations of drugs could prove to be more effective.
The study claims Slimvastatin, which is among the most commonly prescribed statins, was found to be effective when combined with the cancer drug flavopiridol.
Cancer Research UK said that, while evidence to suggest statins combined with other drugs could be effective against melanoma was 'promising', it was an early study in cells and mice and more work would be needed to establish whether the approach would be beneficial in humans.
Effective: The U.S study claims the use of drug combinations could help tackle the problem of cancer patients becoming resistant to their medicines