The Involvement of Hypoxia in the Response of Neuroblastoma Cells to the Exposure of Atorvastatin

Publication: Mol Biol
Software: ADMET Predictor®
Therapeutic Areas: Oncology


Cancer is a set of complex diseases, being one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Despite a lot of research on the molecular pathways and effective treatments, there are still huge gaps. Indeed, the development of new anti-cancer drugs is a complex process. To face this problem, drug repurposing is being increasingly applied. This approach aims to identify new indications for already approved drugs. In this regard, statins (clinically used for reducing cholesterol levels) are reported to induce anti-cancer effects, particularly by inducing apoptosis and altering the tumor microenvironment. Atorvastatin is a type of statin with several potentialities as an anti-cancer agent, supported by several studies. Our study aimed to explore the effect of this drug in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Additionally, we also aimed to understand how this drug acts under hypoxia and the inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). For that purpose, we assessed cellular viability/morphology after exposure to different concentrations of atorvastatin, with or without chemically induced hypoxia with chloride cobalt (CoCl2) and with or without echinomycin (HIF-1α inhibitor). Our results supported the cytotoxic effects of atorvastatin. Additionally, we also revealed that besides these effects, under hypoxia, this drug induced proliferation of the neuroblastoma cells, supporting the importance of different stimuli and environment on the effect of drugs on cancer cells.
By Ana Salomé Correia, Lara Marques and Nuno Vale