Testing Atorvastatin to Lower Colon Cancer Risk in Longstanding Ulcerative Colitis

Study Purpose

This phase II clinical trial studies the effect of atorvastatin in treating patients with ulcerative colitis who have a dominant-negative missense P53 mutation and are at risk of developing large intestinal cancer. Patients with ulcerative colitis are known to have an increased risk of developing large intestinal cancer. Better ways to control ulcerative colitis and more knowledge about how to prevent colon cancer are needed. Atorvastatin is a drug used to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and to prevent stroke, heart attack, and angina (chest pain). It blocks an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body. It also causes an increase in the breakdown of cholesterol. The information gained from this study may help doctors learn more about atorvastatin as an agent in cancer prevention, and may help to improve public health.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years - 70 Years
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Participants must have ulcerative colitis with > 8 years history and clinical remission (including the clinical remission for an extraintestinal manifestation/complication) confirmed by yearly surveillance endoscopy examination (Mayo grading 0 or 1) - They must be stable on maintenance therapy with mesalamine, thiopurines or biologics for over 3 months (Ulcerative Colitis Disease Activity Index [UCDAI] =< 1) - A history of segmental colon resection is allowed.
  • - UC in clinical remission, but with dysplasia-associated lesion or mass (DALM) at entry endoscope examination and DALM was completely resected by endoscopic mucosa resection, is allowed.
  • - Participants 18-70 years old.
  • - Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 1 (Karnofsky >= 70%) - Absolute neutrophil count >= 1,500/uL.
  • - Platelets >= 100,000/uL.
  • - Total bilirubin within normal institutional limits, unless known to have Gilberts syndrome.
  • - Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT])/alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (SGPT) =< 1.5 X institutional upper limit of normal (ULN) - Creatinine =< 1.5 X institutional ULN.
  • - International normalized ratio (INR) =< 1.5.
  • - Plasma level of cholesterol < 240 mg/dl or LDL-C < 190 mg/dl (since cholesterol > 240 mg/dl and LDL-C > 190 mg/dl need high dose (40 - 80 mg) atorvastatin per day to control hypercholesterolemia) - Atorvastatin is contraindicated in pregnancy since it affects cholesterol synthesis pathway.
For this reason, women of childbearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) from the time of baseline pregnancy test, throughout the duration of the study, and for 1 month following cessation of study drug. Females must begin adequate contraception immediately following screening pregnancy test. Should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while participating in this study, she should inform her study physician immediately. If she is pregnant, she will be immediately withdrawn from the study and followed until the birth of the child.
  • - Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • - Ulcerative proctitis (since patients with ulcerative proctitis have a significantly lower risk of developing colorectal cancer [CRC] than those with pancolitis or localized UC in left colon) - Subjects with medical conditions that, in the opinion of the investigator, would preclude the treatment intervention and colonoscopy, or limit ability to comply with therapy.
  • - Subjects with pancolitis or localized UC with Mayo grading >= 2 are excluded.
  • - Use of corticosteroid therapy in the past 3 months due to high potential of relapse of active disease.
  • - Use of statins in the last 12 months.
  • - Use of any investigational drugs within the past 3 months.
  • - A history of high-grade dysplasia or CRC or pan/severe colitis with total proctocolectomy.
  • - History of chemotherapy within 2 years of screening.
  • - History of allergic reactions attributed to atorvastatin.
  • - Concomitant primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) with stage 4 liver fibrosis and severe liver functional alteration.
  • - Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements.
  • - Pregnant or lactating subjects are excluded.
  • - Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive subjects are excluded due to anti-retroviral therapy that affect atorvastatin effect.
- Children are excluded from this study since disease duration is usually < 8 years and there is no data about p53 mutation in this patient population

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Phase 2
Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Seema A Khan
Principal Investigator Affiliation Northwestern University
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Not yet recruiting

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Colorectal Carcinoma, Ulcerative Colitis
Additional Details


  • I. To determine the effect of atorvastatin calcium (atorvastatin) treatment on reducing the fraction of colonic epithelial cells expressing mutant p53 protein detected via immunohistochemical staining in biopsy samples of colorectal mucosa obtained during colonoscopies done before and after atorvastatin intervention and compared to placebo control.
  • I. Examination of the effect of atorvastatin on the levels of biomarkers including Ki-67 (cell proliferation), Waf1p21 (wild type p53 allele reactivated signal), and cleaved caspase-3 (wild type p53-induced cell apoptosis) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) approach for colorectal biopsy specimens.
  • II. Examination of the effect of atorvastatin on the spectrum, hotspot and load of TP53 gene mutations using next generation sequencing and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
  • III. Examination of the effect of atorvastatin on the severity of histologic inflammation in colorectal biopsies using the Geboes grading system.
  • IV. Examination of the effect of atorvastatin on the plasma concentration of cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) for monitoring atorvastatin effect on lowering cholesterol and its correlation with the levels of biomarkers in the colorectal biopsies.
  • V. Examination of the effect of atorvastatin on the clinical efficacy on ulcerative colitis (UC) related symptoms using the Ulcerative Colitis Disease Activity Index (i.e. the Mayo score).
  • VI. Will bank colorectal biopsies and blood samples and ribonucleic acid (RNA) and germline deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for future analyses, particularly on proteomics/prenylated protein profile, cytokine/chemokine profile, inflammatory lipid-mediator profile, RNA sequencing (RNAseq) and Chaperon/Co-chaperon proteins, etc. OUTLINE: Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 arms.
ARM I: Patients receive atorvastatin orally (PO) once daily (QD) for 12 months. ARM II: Patients receive placebo PO QD for 12 months. In both arms, patients also undergo collection of blood samples at each study visit to analyze the inflammation from the blood. After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 2 weeks.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Arm I (atorvastatin, biospecimen collection)

Patients receive atorvastatin PO QD for 12 months.

Placebo Comparator: Arm II (placebo, biospecimen collection)

Patients receive placebo PO QD for 12 months.


Drug: - Atorvastatin Calcium

Given PO

Procedure: - Biospecimen Collection

Undergo collection of blood samples

Drug: - Placebo Administration

Given PO

Contact Information

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For additional contact information, you can also visit the trial on clinicaltrials.gov.

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