U.S. researchers found that blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin combining with an anti-clotting drug may help fight cancer by denying shelter to wandering tumor cells, according to the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry Monday.
Blood cells called platelets shelter and feed tumor cells in the bloodstream, making it easier for cancer to spread, or metastasize. Inactivating platelets may help slow or prevent this spread, the team at Washington University in St. Louis said.
The researchers used ordinary aspirin combined with an experimental antiplatelet drug called APT102 to test their interferes with clotting.
When the mice got aspirin and APT102, the growth and spread of breast and melanoma tumors were slowed and much smaller.
Neither drug had an effect on its own, perhaps because platelet-making processes must be attacked from several angles, the researchers added.
Aspirin prevents platelets from making thromboxane, a substance that facilitates clotting. APT102 prevents platelet activation in response to tumor cells, the researchers said.
"Anti-platelet drugs such as (aspirin) plus APT102 could be valuable experimental tools for studying the role of platelet activation in metastasis as well as a therapeutic option for the prevention of bone metastases," the researchers wrote.
(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2008)