Tokyo: A non-steroid, anti-inflammatory drug used for treating common cold has the potential to suppress the spread of bladder cancers as well as reduce their resistance to anti-cancer drugs in mice, Japanese researchers have found.
Bladder cancer -- the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide -- can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancer, which have a five-year survival rate of 90 per cent, and muscle-invasive cancer, which have poor prognoses.
The latter are normally treated with such anti-cancer drugs as cisplatin, but tend to become chemo-resistant and, thus, spread to organs such as the lungs and liver, as well as bone, the study said.
The study conducted using animal model showed that injecting flufenamic acid -- a much cheaper cold drug -- into cancerous bladder cells can suppress the cells' invasive activities and restore the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs.
"The study could pave the way for medical institutions to use flufenamic acid which has unexpectedly been proven to be effective at fighting cancers," said Shinya Tanaka from Hokkaido University in Japan.
In the study, using rats the team created a xenograft bladder cancer model, and discovered a three to 25-fold increase of the metabolic enzyme aldo-keto reductase 1C1 (AKR1C1).
It was also identified for the first time that AKR1C1 enhances tumour-promoting activities and proved the enzyme blocks the effectiveness of cisplatin and other anti-cancer drugs, which can be inhibited by flufenamic acid, the researchers concluded in the paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.