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

Medical marijuana helpful for cancer-linked symptoms

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Cannabis and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals can be helpful for nausea and vomiting, pain, and weight loss associated with cancer, according to research published online Dec. 10 in CA: A Cancer Jo ...

Mutations need help from aging tissue to cause leukemia

13 hours ago

Why are older people at higher risk for developing cancer? Prevailing opinion holds that, over time, your body's cells accumulate DNA damage and that eventually this damage catches up with the body in a way ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.