A two-drug combination destroys precancerous colon polyps with no effect on normal tissue, opening a new potential avenue for chemoprevention of colon cancer.
In a preclinical study, researchers found that a combination of vitamin A acetate (RAc) and TRAIL, short for tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, kills precancerous polyps and inhibits tumor growth in mice that have deficiencies in a tumor-suppressor gene. That gene and its signaling molecules also are mutated or deficient in 80% of all human colon cancers.
A problem with chemopreventive drugs is that they must be taken continuously, long term to be effective. This exposes patients to possible side effects, says senior author Xiangwei Wu, Ph.D., associate professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Head and Neck Surgery.
“This combination can be given short term and periodically to provide a long-term effect, which would be a new approach to chemoprevention,” Wu says.
Reported in March in the advance online edition of the journal Nature.