Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common, non-hematopoietic, primary malignant bone tumor. OS is characterized by its aggressive local growth and systemic dissemination. Although combination of surgical operation and adjuvant chemotherapy greatly improved the prognosis, more than 20% of patients still cannot get long-term survival. Therefore, novel therapeutic approaches should be expected to be developed. Previously, we developed an OS mouse model by overexpressing c-MYC in bone marrow stromal cells derived from Ink4a/Arf knockout mice. We isolated highly tumorigenic cells (designated AXT cells) from tumors after serial transplantation. Inoculation of AXT cells into syngeneic C57BL/6 mice results in the development of lethal OS with metastatic lesions including lung, which pathologically and clinically mimics human osteoblastic osteosarcoma. To obtain the novel therapeutic agents for OS, we performed drug screening using existing drug collections and found that statins strongly suppressed AXT cell growth and migration in vitro. Simvastatin induces caspase dependent apoptosis, which can be completely rescued by the supplement of mevalonate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate but not by farnesyl pyrophosphate, suggesting that OS cells are susceptible to the inhibition of the mevalonate pathway. As the responsible effectors, we found treatment of simvastatin drives RhoA-GTP translocation from cell membrane to cytosol as well as the disruption of interaction between RhoA and Rho-GDI, indicating that, in spite of the accumulation of RhoA-GTP in OS cells, RhoA cannot work properly, which appears to affect cell motility and anchorage dependent survival. As downstream signaling of RhoA, p38-MAPK and AMPK are strongly activated by simvastatin treatment. Activation of p38-MAPK is not accompanied by the ROS production. The specific inhibitor for p38-MAPK or AMPK can rescue this activation as well as the simvastatin-induced cell death, respectively, suggesting that activation of both kinases is responsible for the anti-tumor effect of simvastatin. A single treatment of statins attenuated OS tumor growth in vivo. These findings suggest that the activation of p38-MAPK and AMPK by statins become a potential therapeutic option for OS.

Citation Format: Walied Abd-Elghani Kamel, Eiji Sugihara, Sayaka Iwai Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Nobusue, Kenta Maki, Akihiro Muto, Hideyuki Saya, Takatsune Shimizu. Statins induce apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells by activation of Ampk and p38-MAPK via suppression of mevalonate pathway. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 4182.