In a recent study published in Cancer Prevention Research, researchers found that an oral drug used to treat neuromuscular diseases could also help prevent a common form of skin cancer caused by damage from ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation from the sun.
The study is from the Ohio State University. One author is Sujit Basu, MD, Ph.D.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed annually in the United States.
The disease typically recurs throughout a person’s lifetime, and advanced disease can lead to physical disfiguration.
These cancers are linked to the sun’s damaging rays, and despite increased public awareness on sun safety precautions, rates of the disease have been increasing for many years.
Previous studies have shown that dopamine receptors play a role in the development of cancerous tumors; however, their role in precancerous lesions is unknown.
In this study, the team found that the neurotransmitter/neurohormone dopamine, by activating its D2 receptors, can stop the development and progression of certain UVB-induced precancerous squamous skin cancers.
Researchers also describe the molecular sequence of events that leads to cancer suppression.
The finding suggests that a commonly used drug that activates specific dopamine receptors could help reduce squamous cell skin cancer recurrence and possibly even prevent the disease entirely.
This is especially exciting because this is a drug that is already readily used in clinical settings and is relatively inexpensive.
The team is working on plans to begin further testing in phase I experimental clinical trial in the coming months.
For more information about skin cancer treatment and prevention, please see recent studies about the key to treating common skin cancer and results showing that 5 things you should know about skin cancer melanoma.
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