UPMC LogoSeveral people might be quite interested with this piece of information as it deals with cancer. A research from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) claims that a drug, already approved for a few types of cancer could turn out to be an effectual secondary treatment for an uncommon tumor of the gastrointestinal tract.

Bortezomib, or Velcade, is apparently administered to treat numerous myeloma and specific lymphomas. The drug is alleged to function in part by averting the degradation of particular proteins, which when high, may provoke apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the cancerous cells.

The scientists supposed that movement may deliver an effectual method of destroying gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cells. Patients suffering from these tumors are said to be usually treated with imatinib, or Gleevec, and supposedly majority of them work extremely well at first, but absolute responses are believed to be uncommon. This was mentioned by Anette Duensing, M.D., assistant professor of pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, an investigator in the Cancer Virology Program, UPCI, and senior author of the research.

To treat patients whose tumors have become resistant to imatinib, there appears to be a requirement for second- and third-line agents. Majority of the GIST patients may gradually develop such resistance.

In researches by means of a GIST cell line, the scientists discovered that using bortezomib may result in cancer cell death via two methods. First, the drug apparently augmented the generation of a protein known as H2AX, which seems to encourage cellular apoptosis. Second, and unpredictably, the drug apparently also repressed the manufacturing of cancer cells of an enzyme named KIT. Primary mutations in KIT is thought to kick off GISTs, and secondary KIT mutations could be the motivating power behind cancer progression in addition to drug resistance in these tumors, Significantly, bortezomib also was believed to be dynamic against imatinib-resistant GIST cells.

Anette Duensing commented, “This is intriguing because resistance to imatinib seems to permit a small pool of quiescent cancer cells to survive. But bortezomib eradicates KIT production, so it might be able to rid the body of the remaining tumor cells.”

Bortezomib is said to currently not be a suitable first-line therapy for GIST. But the present findings seem to support progressing to a clinical trial in apt GIST patients to evaluate its advantages and dangers as a secondary treatment.

The findings of the research were published in Cancer Research.