Cold medicine could stop cancer spread

October 17, 2016, Hokkaido University
Expression of AKR1C1 in primary bladder tumor (left) and metastatic lung tumor (right) in humans. Credit: Matsumoto R. et. al., Scientific Reports, October 4, 2016

Hokkaido University researchers have discovered that a nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug used for treating colds suppresses the spread of bladder cancers and reduces their chemoresistance in mice, raising hopes of a future cure for advanced bladder cancers.

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide. Every year, about 20,000 people in Japan are diagnosed with , of whom around 8,000—mostly men—succumb to the disease. Bladder cancers can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancers, which have a five-year survival rate of 90 percent, and muscle-invasive cancers, which have poor prognoses. The latter are normally treated with such as cisplatin, but tend to become chemoresistant and, thus, spread to organs such as the lungs and liver, as well as bone.

In the latest research, human bladder cancer cells labeled with luciferase were inoculated into mice, creating a xenograft bladder cancer model. The primary bladder xenograft gradually grew and, after 45 days, were detected in the lungs, liver and bone. By using a microarray analysis including more than 20,000 genes for the metastatic tumors, the team discovered a three- to 25-fold increase of the metabolic enzyme aldo-keto reductase 1C1 (AKR1C1). They also found high levels of AKR1C1 in metastatic tumors removed from 25 cancer patients, proving that the phenomena discovered in the mice also occur in the human body. Along with anticancer drugs, an inflammatory substance produced around the tumor, such as interleukin-1β, increased the enzyme levels.

The researchers also identified for the first time that AKR1C1 enhances tumor-promoting activities and proved that the enzyme blocks the effectiveness of cisplatin and other anticancer drugs.

The researchers finally discovered that inoculating flufenamic acid, an inhibitory factor for AKR1C1, into cancerous bladder cells suppressed the cells' invasive activities and restored the effectiveness of anticancer drugs. Flufenamic acid is also known as a nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug used for treating common colds.

The team's discovery is expected to spur clinical tests aimed at improving prognoses for bladder cancer patients. In the latest cancer treatments, expensive molecular-targeted drugs are used, putting a large strain on both the medical economy and the state coffers. "This latest research could pave the way for medical institutions to use flufenamic acid—a much cheaper cold drug—which has unexpectedly been proven to be effective at fighting cancers," says Dr. Shinya Tanaka of the research group.

Explore further: A molecular subtype of bladder cancer resembles breast cancer

More information: Ryuji Matsumoto et al. Aldo-keto reductase 1C1 induced by interleukin-1β mediates the invasive potential and drug resistance of metastatic bladder cancer cells, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep34625

Related Stories

A molecular subtype of bladder cancer resembles breast cancer

March 17, 2016
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men in the United States. While low-grade tumors have a very favorable prognosis, muscle-invasive and metastatic tumors have poorer survival rates.

Bladder cancer clinical trial opens to patients

October 13, 2016
A bladder cancer clinical trial led by scientists at the University of Sheffield and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research is now recruiting patients.

New target for aggressive bladder cancer

July 10, 2014
An international team of scientists have discovered a faulty process in certain bladder cancers that could point to new ways to treat patients with an aggressive form of the disease.

What you need to know about bladder cancer

July 26, 2016
Bladder cancer accounts for 5 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. with nearly 77,000 new cases annually; 1,100 people died of bladder cancer in Kentucky between 2010 and 2014.

Second, unrelated malignancies strike 1 in 12 cancer patients

July 11, 2016
(HealthDay)—A new study indicates that 8 percent of patients—or one in 12—already diagnosed with one form of cancer will develop a second unrelated malignancy. The findings were published online July 5 in Cancer.

Certain occupations linked to increased bladder cancer risk

June 30, 2016
A new analysis of UK workers reveals that certain occupations may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Recommended for you

Researchers discover novel mechanism linking changes in mitochondria to cancer cell death

February 20, 2018
To stop the spread of cancer, cancer cells must die. Unfortunately, many types of cancer cells seem to use innate mechanisms that block cancer cell death, therefore allowing the cancer to metastasize. While seeking to further ...

Stem cell vaccine immunizes lab mice against multiple cancers

February 15, 2018
Stanford University researchers report that injecting mice with inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) launched a strong immune response against breast, lung, and skin cancers. The vaccine also prevented relapses ...

Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, researchers say

February 15, 2018
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine. Outside the body, they can be coaxed to become many different types of cells and tissues that can help repair damage due to trauma or ...

Team paves the way to the use of immunotherapy to treat aggressive colon tumors

February 15, 2018
In a short space of time, immunotherapy against cancer cells has become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumours appeared to be unresponsive to this kind ...

Can our genes help predict how women respond to ovarian cancer treatment?

February 15, 2018
Research has identified gene variants that play a significant role in how women with ovarian cancer process chemotherapy.

First comparison of common breast cancer tests finds varied accuracy of predictions

February 15, 2018
Commercially-available prognostic breast cancer tests show significant variation in their abilities to predict disease recurrence, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London of nearly 800 postmenopausal women.

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.