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Dopamine inhibits vascular growth in cancer

Dopamine inhibits vascular growth in cancer

Recent research demonstrated that dopamine can be used in the treatment of cancer. The drug is normally used in other therapeutic areas but appears to inhibit vascular growth in cancer in vivo. Researchers from the American Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital (OSUCCC-James) published their findings in the International Journal of Cancer.

Dopamine is a well-known drug for the treatment of heart, kidney and vascular disorders. Previously, the authors discovered that the drug also has anti-angiogenic action – in vitro, they managed to demonstrate the inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). However, in this study, they showed that dopamine managed to inhibit vascular growth in two animal cancer models.

Contrary to drugs presently used to inhibit vascular growth in tumours, the administration of dopamine did not cause common side effects such as hypertension or a decline in kidney or liver function. Also, the amount of platelets and neutrophils in the blood was not lowered. Furthermore, dopamine prevented the usual drop in neutrophils after administration of the common chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil.

“VEGF-A-induced angiogenesis plays a critical role in the initiation, growth and progression of solid tumours, and the majority of the anti-angiogenic drugs currently used in the clinics have anti-VEGF-A actions”, says lead author Sujit Basu, MD, PhD, professor pathology and medical oncology at the OSUCCC-James. Because dopamine is a drug already known in the clinic, he thinks that the findings of his research group could rapidly lead to a use of dopamine as an anti-cancer drug.

Source: International Journal of Cancer

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