gms | German Medical Science

83rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

16.05. - 20.05.2012, Mainz

Simvastatin Suppresses Tumor Growth of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma ex vivo

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Matthäus Stöhr - HNO-Universitätsklinik, Leipzig
  • Christian Mozet - HNO-Universitätsklinik, Leipzig
  • Kamelia Dimitrova - HNO-Universitätsklinik, Leipzig
  • Andreas Dietz - HNO-Universitätsklinik, Leipzig
  • Gunnar Wichmann - HNO-Universitätsklinik, Leipzig

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 83. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. Mainz, 16.-20.05.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. Doc12hnod317

doi: 10.3205/12hnod317, urn:nbn:de:0183-12hnod3170

Published: April 4, 2012

© 2012 Stöhr et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: Simvastatin (Sim) is approved as lipid-controlling drug in patients with cardiovascular risk to reduce hypercholesterolemia by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase. However, recent publications suggest that Sim exerts an impact on tumor development and hence might possibly be useful in Head and Neck cancer treatment.

Methods: To study the influence of Sim on tumor growth in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), biopsies of HNSCC were exposed in the FLAVINO-assay to Sim in concentrations of 5, 1.5, 0.5, and 0.15 µM either alone or in binary combination with Cisplatin (Cis) and Docetaxel (DTX). Colonies of epithelial cells formed within 3 days were stained by Cy2-labeled anti-cytokeratin-antibodies (aCK Cy2) and counted using fluorescence microscopes.

Results: Sim suppressed formation of aCK-Cy2 positive colonies in 18 of 18 evaluable HNSCC (100%). The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC₅₀) of Sim was calculated 1.6 µM (SD ±0.3 µM). Moreover, Sim also increased inhibition of colony formation by Cis and DTX.

Conclusion: This exploratory analysis demonstrated a suppressive effect of Sim on tumor growth, particularly on colony formation of HNSCC ex vivo. Since the FLAVINO-assay indicates increased inhibitory effects of Cis and DTX in presence of Sim, our investigations raise a rational to investigate the impact of a co-medication with statins on HNSCC. The latter should be analyzed in epidemiological and clinical studies to clarify the potential usefulness of statins in future pharmacological treatment regimens in HNSCC.