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Colon Cancer Treatment: New Drug Combined With Doxorubicin Could be the Way to Go

Colon Cancer Treatment: New Drug Combined With Doxorubicin Could be the Way to Go

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  • Colon cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer and occurs in the linings of the large intestine.
  • Combination therapy of a new cancer drug Fiderstat with doxorubicin drug can be effective in treating cancer.
  • Doxorubicin drug can cause toxic side effects to the heart when taken alone. Combining it with a new cancer drug can improve treatment and reduce side effects.

A new way to increase the effectiveness of a widely used cancer drug doxorubicin has been identified by a research team from the The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

The study findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Combining a newly-developed drug with a commonly used cancer drug can help to treat colon cancer. The widely used Doxorubicin drug is effective in fighting cancer and can cause toxic side effects to the heart when higher doses are needed.

Satish Srivastava, UTMB Professor said, that using aldose reductase, an enzyme when used along with doxorubicin can reduce the toxins that could damage the heart.

Exposure to cancer-causing agents like pollutants can trigger oxidative stress and could be a driving source of cancer tissue growth. The oxidative signals are required in growing the new blood vessels that are needed by the cancer tissues.

In order to decrease the oxidative signals, antioxidant-containing foods, beverages, skin care products and vitamins are gaining popularity.

Srivastava said, "We've shown that oxidative signals can be blocked by aldose reductase, or AR, inhibitors."

"If we could prevent development of the new blood vessels in the cancer tissue driven by these signals, tumor growth and metastasis can be slowed down or prevented."

Fidarestat Drug Trials
The research team used an AR inhibitor called Fidarestat to learn how it could prevent the growth and metastasis of cancer. The drug has been found to complete phase II clinical trials in the U.S. and phase III in Japan to prevent diabetic neuropathy (nerve damaging disorder associated with diabetes).The drug has been found to have no major side effects.

Doxorubicin Drug
The drug is commonly prescribed to treat certain type of cancers including breast and lung cancer. Colon cancer can become resistant to the drug as a higher dosage is required for it to be effective.

Doxorubicin is found to be cost-effective when compared to other cancer drugs. However, at higher dosages it can be toxic to the heart.

Srivastava said, "In the study, using human colon cancer cell lines, we showed that the growth of cancer cells can be largely prevented using a combination of both drugs in a petri dish as well as in mouse models."

"Since doxorubicin is one of the cheapest drugs that is effective against many types of cancer but rarely used in colon cancer, the combination therapy could be highly effective in combating colon cancer while drastically lowering risk of cardiotoxic side effects."

The FDA-approved fidarestat drug is available through a company in Japan. The research team has planned to use a combination of fidarestat and doxorubicin to combat colon cancer with the hope that combination therapy would require less amount of doxorubicin and also will reduce the potential for toxicity.

Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is a cancer that could start in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas and are the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  1. Himangshu Sonowal, Pabitra B. Pal, Jian-Jun Wen, Sanjay Awasthi, Kota V. Ramana, Satish K. Srivastava. Aldose reductase inhibitor increases doxorubicin-sensitivity of colon cancer cells and decreases cardiotoxicity. Scientific Reports, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03284-w
  2. Colorectal Cancer - ( https://medlineplus.gov/colorectalcancer.html)
  3. Colorectal Cancer—Patient Version - (https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal)

Source: Medindia

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