Antiangiogenic drugs are the one of the most common methods used to deal with cancer resistance. Therefore, a team of scientists from the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Unit made a study focusing on the benefits of this drug.
During the study, researchers used mice with lung and breast cancer and tried to find a way to reduce the tumor growth in both cases. After adding an antidiabetic agent to the antiangiogenic drug, scientists discovered that the results were fantastic as the growth of the tumor was impeded by a surprising 92%.
Epithelial tumors are known to have a high resistance to antiangiogenic agents. Moreover, these agents are used to deal with many types of cancer such as liver carcinomas, kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer.
FDA and EMEA have recently approved the use of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs), which are antiangiogenic drugs as well, to provide treatment for patients suffering from advanced lung cancer. The primary source of power for cells is the mitochondria. The problem is that cancer cells consume 20 times more glucose than normal cells do.
Plus, the changes in cell metabolism are caused by the Warburg effect. This phenomenon comes from the abnormal blood vessels that help the tumor’s development. These vessels also lead to hypoxia (oxygen drop-off). Therefore, the lack of oxygen causes changes in cell metabolism resulting in the Warburg effect.
According to Miguel Quintela-Fandino, lead researcher and head of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Unit at the CNIO, the purpose of the TKIs is to inhibit the cancer cells metabolism. In other words, with this treatment scientists hope to stop the high glucose consumption.
As a result, these cancer cells should die due to starvation, but because they are highly adaptable, they change their energy source relying on mitochondrial respiration. Still, scientists thought that the wisest method would be to use this defense mechanism to their advantage by attacking the cancer cells.
In other words, mitochondrial respiration makes cancer cells an easy to spot target for medical treatments. The mitochondrial blocker, known as antidiabetic phenformin, which was added to the antiangiogenic drug regimen proved to be highly efficient in mice.
Scientists named this effect the ‘metabolic synthetic lethality’ and proved to increase the survival rate of the patients by over 40 percent. However, the investigation needs to continue, so that experts will be able to establish how to deal with cancer in the future as well.
Image Source:The Odyssey Online