Acute statin treatment improves antibody accumulation in EGFR- And psma-expressing tumors

Patrícia M.R. Pereira, Komal Mandleywala, Ashwin Ragupathi, Jason S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Statins are cholesterol-depleting drugs used to treat patients with hypercholesterolemia. Preclinically, statins disrupt trafficking of receptors present at the cell membrane. Membrane receptors, defined as tumor biomarkers and therapeutic targets, are often internalized by an endocytic pathway. Indeed, receptor endocytosis and recycling are dynamic mechanisms that often affect receptor density at the cell surface. In therapies using monoclonal antibodies (mAb), a downregulation in receptor density at the cell surface decreases antibody binding to the extracellular domain of the membrane receptor. Here, we determined the potential of lovastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin in preclinically modulating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) receptor density at the tumor cell surface. Experimental Design: Small-animal PET was used to study the binding of 89Zr-labeled antibodies in ectopic xenografts. Ex vivo analyses were performed to determine changes in endocytic proteins, EGFR, and PSMA surface levels. Results: Acute statin treatment using lovastatin, simvastatin, or rosuvastatin enhanced tumors' avidity for the mAbs panitumumab, cetuximab, and huJ591. Statins temporarily modulated caveolin-1, cavin-1, endophilin, clathrin, and dynamin proteins in EGFR- and PSMA-overexpressing xenografts. Conclusions: These data show the potential of statins as pharmacologic modulators of endocytic proteins for improved tumors' accumulation of mAbs. The translational significance of these findings lies in the potential of statins to temporarily modulate the heterogeneous presence of receptors at the cell membrane, a characteristic often associated with poor response in tumors to therapeutic antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6215-6229
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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