Scientists have shown in a new study that two drugs used to treat breast cancer and osteoporosis eliminated cervical cancer in mice.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health say their findings offer hope to women around the world who are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
The drugs, which keep estrogen from working in cells, also cleared precancerous growths, or lesions, in both the cervix and vagina, and prevented the onset of cancer in mice that had the precancerous lesions.
"We have begun to test whether the drugs are as effective in treating cervical cancer in human cells as they are in our mice," said senior author Paul Lambert, of the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research and the UW-Madison Carbone Cancer Center.
The lab studies, which should take one or two years to complete, could be followed quickly with phase-two or phase-three clinical trials. Early phase trials would not be necessary since the drugs have already been approved for clinical use.
Lambert and his team used special mice they developed more than 20 years ago to study cervical cancer.
The mice were genetically engineered to carry human papillomavirus (HPV) 16, known to be strongly associated with cervical cancer.
The study has been published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.