Scientists have discovered how a family of enzymes used in the development of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction can potentiate the effects of chemotherapy in the treatment of oesophageal cancer, according to a new UK study.
In the first results of the research program published this Tuesday, June 21st cell reports medicineScientists have discovered that the enzyme inhibitor mechanism, which is mainly used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, can reverse resistance to chemotherapy and significantly reduce the development of esophageal cancer tumors.
Hope lies in the PDE5 inhibitor, a substance that inhibits the action of the enzyme phosphodiesterase is found in the smooth muscle cells that line the blood vessels that supply the erectile tissue of the penis in particular.
Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) is an enzyme that naturally slows down the erection mechanism. If this enzyme is inhibited, the erection prolongs: This is ensured by drugs for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra, the most well-known of them.
Such collaboration between this erectile dysfunction treatment and chemotherapy would therefore play a fundamental role in the metastatic development of the tumor.
Chemotherapy resistance in esophageal cancer is influenced by the ‘tumor microenvironment’, the environment surrounding the tumour. This consists of molecules, blood vessels and cells such as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF), which are important for tumor growth. This “tumor microenvironment” nourishes the tumor and can act as a protective coat that prevents treatments such as chemotherapy from working.
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However, it appears that high levels of PDE5 were found in the fibroblasts taken from the tumor microenvironment, which the researchers suggest PDE5 would be an effective target for treating esophageal cancer cells. Clinical studies will now develop a suitable treatment protocol in the coming years.
Treatment of Esophageal Cancer by Journal L’Indépendant on Scribd
Preliminary results suggest that PDE5 inhibitors combined with chemotherapy may shrink some esophageal tumors more than chemotherapy alone by attacking resistance to chemotherapy, one of the main treatment challenges. Most importantly, this breakthrough could pave the way for the use of PDE5 inhibitors in other types of cancer.
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If a treatment emerges from this program, it could in all likelihood help a significant number of patients around the world. On average, between 8,000 and 9,000 people are diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year in France.