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Statins ‘could treat breast cancer’ in future – Scientists have found evidence that women with breast cancer who carry a particular gene mutation could benefit from statin therapy.

Although they emphasised the research was at much too early a stage to make any “definitive conclusions”, they said it had “great implications”.

The research centres on a gene called p53, which usually suppresses cancerous cells. However, very frequently the gene mutates, giving it new erroneous functions that promote cancer formation, resulting in disorganised, invasive growth of cells.

It is already known that more than half of all human cancers carry mutations of the p53 gene, according to the authors, writing in the journal Cell.

In a laboratory study, William Freed-Pastor and Carol Prives of Columbia University in the US, and colleagues, showed that treating breast cells carrying mutant p53 genes with statins reduced their invasive growth. In some cases the cells died.

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