Drug trio improved effectiveness of cancer treatment, protected heart

Combining cancer medication with a drug for erectile dysfunction and one for heart transplants helped kill cancer cells and protected the heart from damage, in a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012.

For decades, doxorubicin has been a powerful anti-cancer treatment for various human cancers, including breast, ovarian, colon and prostate. But its use has been limited due to harmful, possibly irreversible effects on the heart.

In this study, using cell and animal models, researchers found that sildenafil alone or in combination with rapamycin (an immunosuppressant used to prevent post-transplant ) significantly improved the anti-cancer effects of doxorubicin while protecting the heart. The combination of all three medications showed the most powerful effect, researchers said.

"Because sildenafil and rapamycin are clinically approved drugs that both protect heart muscle, we thought that combining these drugs with doxorubicin would be a unique strategy to eliminate the cardiac side effects of doxorubicin while further improving its cancer-killing ability," said Rakesh Kukreja, Ph.D., study co-author and professor of internal medicine and cardiology, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond.

"The drug combination led to a dramatic protection of heart muscle from apoptosis (cellular self-destruction) and, to a lesser extent, necrosis (cell death from disease)," said David E. Durrant, study lead author and Ph.D. candidate at the VCU School of Medicine. "We think this combination therapy may have excellent potential to move forward into clinical trials and eventually improve life expectancy of cancer patients."

More research is needed to understand how sildenafil and rapamycin work together to improve doxorubicin treatment, Durrant said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Potential new therapeutic molecular target to fight cancer

Nov 01, 2007

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have identified the enzyme sphingosine kinase 2 as a possible new therapeutic target to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy for colon and breast cancer.

Red wine compound increases anti-tumor effect of rapamycin

Feb 14, 2011

Cleveland – Researchers from Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute have discovered that resveratrol – a compound found in red wine – when combined with rapamycin can have a tumor-suppressing effect on ...

Polymer nanoparticle overcomes anticancer drug resistance

Aug 17, 2012

In a nanotechnology two-for-one, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (Hopkins CCNE) have created a polymer nanoparticle that overcomes tumor resistance to the common anticancer ...

Recommended for you

Results of RIBS IV trial reported

19 hours ago

A new clinical trial comparing the use of everolimus-eluting stents (EES) and drug-eluting balloons (DEB) in treating in-stent restenosis (ISR) from drug-eluting stents found that EES provided superior late angiographic results ...

Results of DKCRUSH-VI trial reported

19 hours ago

A new study found that fractional flow reserve (FFR)-guided provisional side branch (SB) stenting of true coronary bifurcation lesions yields similar outcomes to the current standard of care. The DKCRUSH-VI clinical trial ...

Results of IVUS-CTO trial reported at TCT 2014

19 hours ago

A new study found that intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) -guided intervention in patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO) could improve outcomes compared to a conventional angiography-guided approach during percutaneous ...

Results of OCT STEMI trial reported at TCT 2014

19 hours ago

The first randomized trial to examine serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) in primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was reported at the 26th annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific ...

INR variability predicts warfarin adverse effects

Sep 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Unstable anticoagulation predicts warfarin adverse effects regardless of time in therapeutic range, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Ou ...

User comments