A new class of drugs based on a widely used anticancer drug, hydroxyurea, shows potent colon cancer-killing effects in the laboratory and in mice, according to researchers. The new compounds seem to be very interesting for the treatment of these tumors.
Previous drugs derived from hydroxyurea were extremely active in blocking the same cell targets as hydroxyurea, but had serious side effects. This prompted the researchers to synthesize similar drugs with different structures that they hypothesized would be less likely to cause complications.
The researchers tested the drugs against colon cancer implants in mice. One of the compounds, EPH116, blocked the tumor growth at doses that did not appear toxic. EPH116 brought considerable cancer cell death, but did so by as yet unknown mechanisms. In the laboratory, EPH116 and its relatives also showed activity against small cell lung cancer and malignant melanoma cells.