Two-Drug Combination Fights Resistant Ovarian Cancer Cells

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Ovarian cancer is one of the most common malignancies among women all over the globe. Various studies have been initiated to explore options with regard to effective treatments for this pathology. In a recent research published online in Gynecologic Oncology, two drugs never previously used together were said to kill 70% of ovarian cancer cells resistant to usual chemotherapeutic agents. The Lead Author Dr. Prakash Vishnu, of the May Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and her team have high hopes that the combo of ixabepilone and sunitinib will become effective medical intervention for patients with this cancer.

According to Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero, a hematologist-oncologist and co-author, the combination of chemotherapy compounds is crucial in saving lives, since the late stage of ovarian cancer becomes fatal due to its resistance to commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs. Furthermore, the “proof of principle” study revealed that RhoB, a cellular protein that is activated by the 2-drug combo, has a vital role in ovarian cancer. RhoB serves as a molecular switch that gives signals in cellular processes like gene expression, cell proliferation and cell suicide (apoptosis).

In addition, Dr. John Coplan, a senior author and cancer biologist, said that RhoB is a key modulator in aiding drugs to fight other kinds of tumor, although this is the first time for it to be linked to ovarian cancer. He added that RhoB becomes elevated and cell death occurs with this new drug combination. Moreover, he believed that this protein may be a possible marker that can assist in determining which ovarian cancer patients benefit from this chemotherapeutic combination.

Dr. Colon-Otero urged Copland and his colleagues to test the two drugs on their new cell lines. They discovered that the proportion of cells killed was larger when the drugs were used as a combination than when they were separately used. Ixabepilone inactivated about 30% of cells, and sunitinb up to 10%. However, 70% was the kill rate when the drugs were used together.

Ixabepilone is a taxane targeting microtubules and halts cell division by preventing the dividing cells to form a spindle. Meanwhile, Sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is known to stop growth signals from getting inside the malignant cells.

Ixabepilone has been approved to treat metastatic breast cancer, while sunitinib is for renal cancer. Although these agents are not yet currently approved for use in ovarian cancer, this study paved the way to discover and understand probable treatment options that can give hope for the victims of this malignancy.

 

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  1. [...] Two-Drug Combination Fights Resistant Ovarian Cancer Cells According to Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero, a hematologist-oncologist and co-author, the combination of chemotherapy compounds is crucial in saving lives, since the late stage of ovarian cancer becomes fatal due to its resistance to commonly used … Read more on Heal Blog (blog) [...]

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