Drug combo may halt prostate cancer progression

April 24, 2008

A combination of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex) and the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) appears to stop early-stage prostate cancer from transitioning into its more aggressive stage, according to an animal study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

A combination of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex) and the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) appears to stop early-stage prostate cancer from transitioning into its more aggressive stage, according to an animal study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

The research team set out to find a way to indefinitely delay the transition to androgen independence, prolonging the time during which the cancer would be responsive to low-toxicity, anti-hormone therapy. They tested the effects of the drugs individually and in combination on the growth of prostate cancer cell cultures from four different cell lines, then on specially bred mice in which prostate cancer tumors were introduced under the skin.

“A combination of low doses of atorvastatin and celecoxib had a more potent inhibiting effect on the formation of later-stage tumors than a higher dose of either agent alone,” said Xi Zheng, MD, who led the research team. “The results from our study indicate that a combination of atorvastatin and celecoxib may be an effective strategy for the prevention of prostate cancer progression from the first to the second stage.”

Research continues on the underlying molecular mechanisms to understand how the drugs work on prostate cancer, with the goal of identifying an important signaling pathway for tumor cell growth that the drugs inhibit. In addition, human clinical trials are planned at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in San Diego.