Computational Drug Repositioning Identifies Statins as Modifiers of Prognostic Genetic Expression Signatures and Metastatic Behavior in Melanoma

Wesley Y. Yu, Sheena T. Hill, E. Ricky Chan, John J. Pink, Kevin Cooper, Sancy Leachman, Amanda W. Lund, Rajan Kulkarni, Jeremy S. Bordeaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite advances in melanoma treatment, more than 70% of patients with distant metastasis die within 5 years. Proactive treatment of early melanoma to prevent metastasis could save lives and reduce overall healthcare costs. Currently, there are no treatments specifically designed to prevent early melanoma from progressing to metastasis. We used the Connectivity Map to conduct an in silico drug screen and identified 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) as a drug class that might prevent melanoma metastasis. To confirm the in vitro effect of statins, RNA sequencing was completed on A375 cells after treatment with fluvastatin to describe changes in the melanoma transcriptome. Statins induced differential expression in genes associated with metastasis and are used in commercially available prognostic tests for melanoma metastasis. Finally, we completed a chart review of 475 patients with melanoma. Patients taking statins were less likely to have metastasis at the time of melanoma diagnosis in both univariate and multivariate analyses (24.7% taking statins vs. 37.6% not taking statins, absolute risk reduction = 12.9%, P = 0.038). These findings suggest that statins might be useful as a treatment to prevent melanoma metastasis. Prospective trials are required to verify our findings and to determine the mechanism of metastasis prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1802-1809
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Volume141
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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