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Drug Shows Promise for Skin Cancer Prevention, Treatment

Styrylquinazoline compound CP-31398 targets mutant tumor suppressor p53

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A drug that targets a mutant cancer protein can prevent and treat ultraviolet light-induced skin tumors in a non-immunodeficient mouse model and in human skin carcinoma cells, according to a study in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Xiuwei Tang, from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and colleagues investigated the effect of styrylquinazoline compound CP-31398, which restores the tumor suppressor functions of mutant p53 protein, in mice after treatment with ultraviolet B radiation and in A431 cells, human skin carcinoma cells that carry mutant p53.

The researchers found that CP-31398 affected various signal transduction pathways involving p53 and p53-targeted proteins. Treatment was followed by p53 dependent cell cycle arrest and apoptosis after ultraviolet radiation in wild-type (p53 positive) mice but not in mice deficient in p53. Similar results were seen in the human A431 cells that expressed mutant p53. CP-31398 was effective at treating skin tumors as well as preventing them, according to the study.

The work "is an elegant study that suggests CP-31398 topical application may be active in skin cancer prevention following ultraviolet light exposure and may provide an effective therapy after cancer development," Wafik S. El-Deiry, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, writes in an accompanying editorial.

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