Gut Liver.  2016 Mar;10(2):310-317. 10.5009/gnl15195.

Simvastatin Induces Apoptosis and Suppresses Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor in Bile Duct Cancer Cells

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Hwaseong, Korea.


Statins act as antineoplastic agents through the inhibition of cell proliferation. This study sought to demonstrate the effects of statins on extrahepatic bile duct cancer cell apoptosis and to document the changes in protein expression involved in tumor growth and suppression.
Human extrahepatic bile duct cancer cells were cultured. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays were performed to determine the effect of statins on cell proliferation. Apoptosis was measured by a cell death detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and caspase-3 activity assay, and flow cytometry was used to determine the percentage of cells in each phase of the cell cycle. The protein expression of Bax, Bcl-2, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), and Akt was measured by Western blot analysis.
Simvastatin suppressed cell proliferation by inducing G1 phase cell cycle arrest in bile duct cancer cells. Furthermore, it induced apoptosis via caspase-3 activation, downregulated the expression of the Bcl-2 protein, and enhanced the expression of the Bax protein. Moreover, simvastatin suppressed the expression of the IGF-1 receptor and IGF-1-induced ERK/Akt activation.
Simvastatin induces apoptosis in bile duct cancer cells, which suggests that it could be an antineoplastic agent for bile duct cancer.


Simvastatin; Bile duct neoplasms; Apoptosis; Receptor; IGF type 1; Bax
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