Popular arthritis drug may enhance radiation effects against cancer

November 07, 2001

Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have shown in the laboratory that a popular arthritis drug, Vioxx, may enhance the effects of radiation against cancer.

Interest in such arthritis drugs, known as cox-2 inhibitors and which include the well known drug Celebrex, stems from the mechanism by which they apparently work against cancerous tumors. According to Adam Dicker, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a member of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center, who led the work, the drugs appear to affect angiogenesis, a process by which a tumor's growth is fed by the development of blood vessels. A new field of research on anti-cancer drugs known as angiogenesis inhibitors has sprung up in recent years based on the concept that by blocking the formation of blood vessels, cancers cannot grow or spread without a blood supply to feed them.

Dr. Dicker presents his team's findings November 7 at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in San Francisco.

According to Dr. Dicker, tumors actually make cox-2, an enzyme, and nearly every tumor "overexpresses," or makes too much of it. It is also present in blood vessels associated with the tumor, though the enzyme's precise role is uncertain.

In animal models, both Vioxx and Celebrex have shown anti-tumor properties, in some cases even shrinking tumors, possibly through an anti-angiogenic effect.

Other researchers have demonstrated in animal models that Celebrex enhances the effects of radiation on tumors. But little had been known, Dr. Dicker explains, about the effects of Vioxx. Dr. Dicker, using various laboratory tests and a number of different models for angiogenesis, showed the drug also enhances the effects of radiation on tumor cells by interfering with angiogenesis.

"People are excited about cox-2 inhibitors because they appear to lower toxicity for patients with arthritis," he says. "In addition, they also enhance radiotherapy effects and have anti-angiogenic activity."

Angiogenesis has become one of the hottest areas of cancer research. Some researchers believe that anti-angiogenesis drugs will expand the armamentarium of drugs that will halt cancer growth, with the disease becoming more a chronic illness patients can live with.

Dr. Dicker is leading a number of clinical trials looking at the use of these inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. At the same time, he chairs the Cox-2 Inhibitor Working Group at the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a federally funded cancer clinical trials organization that is conducting trials nationwide on the use of cox-2 and its role in cancer therapy.

"There will be a lot of research in this area - it's an exciting time," Dr. Dicker says.
Contact: Steve Benowitz or Phyllis Fisher
After Hours: 215/955-6060

Thomas Jefferson University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.