Lovastatin inhibits proliferation of anaplastic thyroid cancer cells through up-regulation of p27 by interfering with the Rho/ROCK-mediated pathway

Wen-Bin Zhong, Sung Po Hsu, Pei Yin Ho, Yu Chih Liang, Tien Chun Chang, Wen Sen Lee

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Previously, we demonstrated that lovastatin, a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, induced apoptosis, differentiation, and inhibition of invasiveness of human anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cells (ATCs). Here, we further examined the effect of lovastatin on the growth of ARO cells. Lovastatin (0-20 μM) concentration-dependently decreased cell number in cultured ATC and arrested the cell at the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. Western blot analysis revealed that lovastatin caused an increase of the protein level of p27 and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4 and a decrease of the protein level of cyclin A2, cyclin D3, and phosphorylated Rb (pRb), but did not significantly change the protein levels of p21, cyclins D1 and E, and CDK2, in ARO cells. The formation of the CDK2-p27 complex was increased and the CDK2 activity was decreased in the lovastatin-treated ARO cells. Pretreatment of ARO cells with a p27, but not p21, antisense oligonucleotide prevented the lovastatin-induced G0/G1 arrest in ARO cells. The lovastatin-induced growth inhibition and translocation of RhoA and Rac1 in ARO cells were completely prevented by mevalonate and partially by geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. Treatment of ARO cells with Y27632, an inhibitor of Rho-associated kinase, abolished the GGPP-mediated prevention of lovastatin-induced anti-proliferation and up-regulation and prolonged degradation of p27. Taken together, these data suggest that lovastatin treatment caused a reduction of Rho geranylgeranylation, which in turn increased the expression and stability of p27, and then inhibited ARO cell proliferation. These data suggest that lovastatin merits further investigation as multipotent therapy for treatment ATC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1672
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011



  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • HMG-CoA reductase
  • Lovastatin
  • p27
  • Rho

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry

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