Leukemia drug shows promise for skin, breast and other cancers

August 19, 2014, Loyola University Health System

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.

Explore further: New drug combination delayed disease progression for subgroup of women with metastatic breast cancer

Related Stories

New drug combination delayed disease progression for subgroup of women with metastatic breast cancer

December 12, 2013
Adding the drug dasatinib to a standard antihormone therapy, letrozole, doubled the time before disease progressed for women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, according to results of ...

Researchers find protein that fuels repair of treatment-resistant cancer cells

July 31, 2014
Imagine you're fighting for your life but no matter how hard you hit, your opponent won't go down.

Recurrent head and neck tumors have gene mutations that could be vulnerable to cancer drug

April 4, 2014
An examination of the genetic landscape of head and neck cancers indicates that while metastatic and primary tumor cells share similar mutations, recurrent disease is associated with gene alterations that could be exquisitely ...

Researchers study use of dasatinib for patients with high-risk MDS

March 21, 2013
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have completed a phase II clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of dasatinib for patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, ...

Recommended for you

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

0 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.