Researchers from the University of Bath in the UK say that ibuprofen, a common anti-inflammatory painkiller, could halt the growth of cancer cells.
A protein called AMACR is overactive in nearly all prostate cancers, some bowel cancers and other types of cancer because it boosts the cancer cell’s energy supply.
AMACR is also the protein that converts ibuprofen into its active form so scientists theorized if they could understand how ibuprofen changes AMACR's activity they could also understand how they block cancer.
Previous studies had shown that high levels of ibuprofen slowed prostate cancer cell growth.
The lead author, Dr. Matthew Lloyd, said, “Our study is the first to test other drugs in the same family as ibuprofen systematically and show that they‘re all processed by the same protein in the body. Some early laboratory studies have suggested that high doses of ibuprofen can halt the growth of prostate cancer cells, but the reasons for this aren’t well understood.
“Understanding more about how this protein is acting in cells and what molecules it interacts with could provide important clues to how this process works, hopefully opening up new avenues of research for treating prostate cancer in the future.”
Dr. Julie Sharp, from Cancer Research UK, said, “This research is part of an international effort to understand how drugs like ibuprofen could prevent, or slow down, the development of cancer. But there are risks as well as benefits and long term use of these drugs can have side effects, such as bleeding and stomach ulcers. Understanding more about how these drugs work on a molecular level is a crucial step in being able to develop better targeted drugs with fewer side effects in future.”
Cancer Research UK Press Release, 26th May 2011 - http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/pressrelease/2011-05-26-ibuprofen-and-cancer?view=rss
Woodman et al., Chiral inversion of 2-arylpropional-CoA esters by human alpha-methyylacyl-CoA racemase 1A (P504S) – a potential mechanism for the anti-cancer effects of ibuprofen (2011) - http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/CC/c1cc10763a
Reviewed June 1, 2011