An experimental anti-cancer drug has shown effectiveness in treating a resistant type of lymphoma, according to a new report. Researchers say the drug probably acts on many types of cancer cells, so it may be useful for treating other types of cancer. Dr. Antonio Fojo of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues tested the drug, depsipeptide, in patients with T-cell lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that rarely responds to chemotherapy.
Depsipeptide is a member of a class of drugs known as histone deacetylase inhibitors. Fojo and colleagues believe these drugs may help restore normal growth to cancer cells, which typically arise from normal cells in which growth regulation has gone awry.
The drug's side effects were comparable to those seen with other types of chemotherapy and included fatigue, nausea and vomiting, lowered platelet count and abnormal heart rhythm, the researchers add. "These results suggest that is a novel and potentially effective therapy for patients with T-cell lymphoma," Fojo's team concludes.