Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive form of cancer in the brain that is typically fatal.
Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University found they could help increase the effectiveness of treatments with the addition of lumefantrine, an FDA-approved drug used to treat malaria.
The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was conducted by Paul B. Fisher et al.
While the current standard of care involving radiation and temozolomide, an anti-cancer nchemotherapy, can marginally extend the lives of patients with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors, the resistance of GBM to these therapies is a frequent occurrence.
Additionally, the five-year survival rate of GBM patients treated with the standard of care is less than 6 percent, and no current therapies prevent a recurrence.
The researchers have focused on discovering FDA-approved drugs and more uncommon agents that could potentially help counteract glioblastoma’s resistance to and effectiveness of treatment.
In the study, the team uncovered a new potential application of the antimalarial drug as a therapy for glioblastoma multiforme resistant to the standard of care entailing radiation and temozolomide.
Specifically, lumefantrine can inhibit a genetic element involved in cancer development and progression, Fli-1, which controls the resistance of glioblastoma multiforme to radiation and temozolomide.
The researchers found that adding lumefantrine while treating glioblastoma killed cancer cells and suppressed tumor cell growth.
This occurred in both glioblastoma cells sensitive to and those that otherwise would be resistant to radiation and temozolomide.
Furthermore, lumefantrine inhibited tumor growth caused by both therapy-sensitive and therapy-resistant glioblastoma cells.
To help treat glioblastoma, researchers will further explore other means to counteract therapy resistance.
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