It appears that Diclofenac, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, which is commonly prescribed in the United States, has also peculiar anti-cancer properties, as scientists stated in a study from the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology Project (ReDO). The team of researchers from the institution said that there are several non-cancer drugs that could have many benefits for the treatment of cancer.

What seems more interesting about the conclusions is that the effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are enhanced by Diclofenac when taken in combination with the anti-cancer treatments. The anti-inflammatory drug that is used for rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, fever and postoperative pain, is also considerably cheap as it can be bought in a generic form.

The painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, Diclofenac, may have peculiar anti-cancer properties. Credit: Huffington Post

The ReDo is an institution that seeks to find new cancer treatments with low toxicity with the collaboration of the Anticancer Fund, Belgium and GlobalCures from the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1,658,370 cancer cases were detected in the country last year, and around 589,430 people died in 2015 as a consequence of the disease.

“It’s still somewhat surprising that there is still so much we don’t understand about how many of the standard drugs we use every day, like diclofenac, work. But the more we learn, the more we can see that these drugs are multi-targeted agents with interesting and useful effects on multiple pathways of interest in oncology,” said study author Pan Pantziarka, PhD, member of the ReDO project and the Anticancer Fund, in a press release published on Monday.

Findings seem to suggest that Diclofenac has a great potential for treating cancer in the perioperative period, which includes all the previous procedures related to an operation, the operation itself and the later treatments related to it, because the pain-killer can help the immune system.

According to the authors, what they expect when they encourage the investigation of the use of Diclofenac as a cancer treatment, is to decrease the risk of developing metastases in patients after cancer operations are done, they added it could represent an important improvement in the treatment of cancer.

“After all, it’s metastatic disease that most often kills patients, not the original primary disease. It may also be that diclofenac may have actions which synergise with the latest generation of checkpoint inhibitors – the combination of the latest drugs in the anticancer armory with some of the oldest is especially exciting,” said Pantziarka.

Researchers mentioned that benefits can be most seen in the context of surgical intervention of several types of cancer, such as colorectal, neuroblastoma, pancreatic, ovarian, glioma, melanoma, prostate and breast.

Other drugs such as Ketorolac, an analgesic, and Cimetidine, a drug used for treating heartburn and peptic ulcers, also appear to have “positive effects.” However, more investigation needs to be done in order to identify more details about the benefits of the usage of the mentioned drugs.

Several scientists among the U.S. are investigating new cheaper methods and alternatives that could be approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer, since some cancer drugs are more expensive in the U.S. than in other countries, and finding new cheaper treatments could save the life of thousand of people.

Last year, a study published in the Journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings explained that cancer patients in the U.S. pay approximately $100,000 per year of treatment. One of the reasons that could explain the high prices is that some few patented drugs could be monopolizing the market.

Source: Anticancer Fund