Drugs for other diseases show promise for oral cancer

By DrBicuspid.com staff writers

March 18, 2021 -- Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University found that two established drugs used for other diseases showed promise for treating oral and esophageal cancers in a study published on January 29 in Molecular Cancer Research.

A team led by Tomoki Muramatsu, PhD, found that combining two drugs, pitavastatin and capmatinib, blocked the growth of oral cancer cells in culture and the growth of tumors in a mouse model. Pitavastatin is a statin and capmatinib is used to treat interstitial lung disease.

"Drug repurposing can be extremely helpful for discovering efficacious treatments for diseases lacking approved therapies," Muramatsu said in a statement released by the university.

The group's research showed that pitavastatin inhibited a cellular pathway called Met signaling. When the researchers added capmatinib, another Met inhibitor, they found an even greater reduction in oral cancer cell growth.

Based on the results, Met signaling "may be a valuable therapeutic target in these tumors," Muramatsu said.

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