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Antibiotic May Slow Bladder and Breast Cancer Cell Growth

Researchers have recently found that a common antibiotic prescribed for urinary tract infections may additionally slow and even stop the growth of breast and bladder cancer cells.  The study was performed by researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Nitroxoline is the antibiotic of interest.  Traditionally, nitroxoline is used as a urinary antibacterial agent to combat the organisms commonly found in urinary tract infections.  However, the John Hopkins’ findings show that the antibiotic also blocks the formation of new blood vessels that fuel tumors.  With these results, nitroxoline may become a potential therapeutic agent for cancer.

“Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, plays an important role in tumor growth and metastasis, so inhibiting angiogenesis is a promising strategy for developing new anticancer drugs,” Dr. Jun O. Liu, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at John Hopkins, said in regards to the findings.

More than 177,000 chemical compounds and drugs were tested.  The researchers were studying each drug’s ability to block the activity of a protein in order to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels.  The results were astonishing:  nitroxoline blocked more than 99 percent of the blood vessels at a low and safe concentration.

Even more promising is the fact that when the antibiotic was tested in mice, the treatment reduced breast cancer cell tumor volume by 60 percent and bladder cancer cell tumor by more than 50 percent.

Although the usage of nitroxoline to prevent the growth of bladder and breast cancer cells is promising, more clinical trials need to be conducted before a serious recommendation for treatment of bladder and breast cancer may be made.

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