Diabetes Drug Boosts Chemo's Effectiveness

Avandia gives push to plantinum-based therapies, researchers say

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MONDAY, May 7, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- The diabetes drug rosiglitazone (brand name Avandia) dramatically increases the potency of platinum-based cancer drugs, U.S. researchers report.

In research with mice, scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston found that combining a platinum chemotherapy agent with rosiglitazone was as much as three times more effective at halting or shrinking tumors than using either of the drugs alone.

The findings are published in the May issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

If the same results can be achieved in humans, this combination therapy may help improve control of ovarian, lung and other cancers routinely treated with platinum-based chemotherapy, said the researchers, who noted that tumors eventually become resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy.

The results suggest that this combination treatment may extend the use of platinum-based chemotherapy to other cancers which have previously not responded to this kind of chemotherapy, the scientists added.

"There's still a huge gulf between these experiments and human cancers. But it's worked in every animal model of cancer we've looked at, and I think there's a fair chance it will help people," senior author Bruce Spiegelman said in a prepared statement.

The Dana-Farber team is developing plans for initial human clinical trials, which may begin this year.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about chemotherapy.

SOURCE: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, news release, May 7, 2007

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