Antibiotic Can Prevent Recurrence of Breast Cancer
One of the primary priorities of cancer researchers is to find ways to reduce the risk of cancer recurring or metastasis. A recent small-scale study may have found a common, cost-effective drug that does this.
Cancer stem cells (CSC), also known as tumor-initiating cells, are a hot topic among researchers.
These cells are resistant to existing treatments and play an important role in both metastasis and recurrence, two of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment.
Therefore, it is of great interest to find successful ways to clean CSCs.
Researchers from the University of Salford in England may have presented a treatment that could play an important role.
These scientists spend their time testing drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are also investigating whether any existing medication can help fight cancer.
Concentrating on drugs in this way means they can potentially reach the clinic faster if they find an existing drug that works against cancer.
In a new article published in the journal Oncology in Borders, scientists summarize the potential use of an antibiotic called doxycycline to clear CSCs.
A renewed antibiotic
Usually, experts prescribe doxycycline, one of the most common antibiotics globally, to treat conditions such as pneumonia, chlamydia, sinusitis, syphilis, cholera and Lyme disease.
Doxycycline works by preventing cells from forming new mitochondria, power cells. Importantly, the drug has minimal side effects.
For this study, researchers recruited only 15 participants from the University Hospital in Pisa, Italy. They gave doxycycline to nine participants every day for 14 days, resulting in surgery to remove a tumor. The remaining six participants acted as controls and did not use drugs.
To assess whether the antibiotic has an effect on CSCs and the chance of a tumor reappearing, scientists have tested a number of biomarkers. They evaluated these root deviation measures in tumor tissues (core biopsies) that were removed before the operation and tumor tissues excised during the procedure.
Scientists have measured a significant drop in CSCs in almost all participants taking doxycycline. Although the number of participants was very low, the results were very important, suggesting that a clinical trial would be worth the study.