Leukemia drug shows promise for skin, breast and other cancers

A leukemia drug called dasatinib shows promise for treating skin, breast and several other cancers, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Dasatinib fights leukemia by checking the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. But when used against other cancer cells, researchers found, the drug employs a different strategy: It causes the cells to clump together, thus preventing them from migrating. Without the ability to migrate, cancer cells cannot metastasize (spread to other parts of the body).

Mitchell Denning, PhD, and colleagues discovered the molecular mechanism behind this cell-cell adhesion. The researchers reported their findings in a study published online ahead of print in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis.

Dasatinib (trade name, Sprycel) is approved for certain types of leukemia. It targets a protein called BCR-ABL that fuels the growth of cancer cells.

BCR-ABL is similar to a protein called Fyn that's found in other malignancies, including breast, brain, pancreatic, skin and head-and-neck cancers. Fyn is associated with cell-cell adhesion and cell migration.

Denning and colleagues found that applying dasatinib to cancer cells in the laboratory caused the cells to clump together, and also prevented the cells from migrating. They found similar results with breast . While dasatinib did not eliminate Fyn, it inhibited the protein's activity.

The researchers also found that dasatinib reduced the number and size of tumors in mice that had skin cancer.

Denning noted that clinical trials are underway to test dasatinib on patients with melanoma, prostate cancer, , endometrial cancer, gastrointestinal stromal cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and .

"We think dasatinib can be applied to many different types of cancer," Denning said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can cancer drugs combine forces?

Aug 16, 2007

Individuals with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are treated first with a drug known as imatinib (Gleevec), which targets the protein known to cause the cancer (BCR-ABL). If their disease returns, because BCR-ABL mutants emerge ...

Recommended for you

Study pinpoints microRNA tied to colon cancer tumor growth

10 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified microRNAs that may cause colon polyps from turning cancerous. The finding could help physicians provide more specialized, and earlier, treatment before colon cancer ...

Obesity tied to higher cancer risk for CRC survivors

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients who are overweight or obese when diagnosed appear to face a slightly higher risk for developing a second weight-related cancer, according to research published ...

User comments