New research from a cancer center in Philadelphia suggests that antioxidants may be an important tool in the fight against malignant mesothelioma.
Consumers know that antioxidants, like beta carotene, dietary supplements may combat oxidative stress at the cellular level. Some beans, blueberries, apples, blueberries, strawberries, cherries and plums are just some of the foods that are rich in antioxidants. But there are also several antioxidant-based drugs that have a similar effect on cells and are currently used to treat conditions such as lung disease, diabetes and malaria.
Now, researchers at the Kimmel Center Thomas Jefferson Cancer Hospital in Philadelphia have found evidence that these drugs may be effective against cancers such as mesothelioma. The team showed that the loss of a tumor suppressor protein known as caveolin-1 leads to tumor growth and is an important predictor of cancer progression. breast cancer patients found to lack the protein caveolin-1 had only a 10 percent chance of surviving for 5 years, while those with the protein had a 75 percent chance of survival.
Loss of caveolin-1 protein leads to oxidative stress in mesothelioma cells, which produce "fuel" for growth of the tumor. Since antioxidants fight stress, and cut off fuel supplies, the researchers theorize that the treatment of patients with mesothelioma with antioxidant drugs could be a way to stop the growth of their tumors. At present, the antioxidants are not normally used to treat mesothelioma and other cancers, as it is believed that could counteract the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs that cause oxidative stress.
"This study provides genetic evidence necessary to reduce oxidative stress in the body decreases tumor growth," said lead researcher Michael P. Lisanti, MD, Ph.D. , Professor of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College. "Now that we have genetic evidence that mitochondrial oxidative stress is important for promoting tumor growth, we must reconsider the use of antioxidants ... anti-cancer agent."
Some of the drugs have been shown to reduce oxidative stress include diabetes drug metformin, a malaria drug called chloroquine and a third agent called N-acetyl cysteine. In the future could be used as part of a multi-modality approach to treatment for mesothelioma, which is notoriously difficult to treat.