in Sweden are reporting for the first time that a group of drugs used
to treat heart failure shows promise for fighting colon cancer. The
study is in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, a monthly
publication. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United
States, with more than 150,000 cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Jenny Felth, Joachim Gullbo, and colleagues note that cardiac
glycosides are a family of naturally-derived drugs used to treat
congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. Scientists have
suspected for some time, based on previous research, that these heart
drugs may have promise for fighting many different types of cancer.
Despite this, knowledge on effects in colon cancer or combination
effects with other anti-cancer drugs is lacking. But scientists know
little about their potential anticancer effects and have not tested
these substances against colon cancer.
As part of a larger study to screen and identify natural substances
with activity against colon cancer, the scientists picked several
cardiac glycosides for further study. They tested five of these heart
drugs against laboratory cultures of human colon cancer cells and found
that they were all effective, to varying degrees, at killing the cancer
cells. The sensitivity, however, was rather low when compared to that
of other cancer cell types reported previously. Several of the drugs
also showed increased anticancer activity when combined with certain
drugs used for standard chemotherapy. The findings suggest that these
heart drugs may affect colon cancer outcome when used alone or in
combination with conventional chemotherapy drugs, they say.
-- News release courtesy of American Chemical Society