Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Compound From Chinese Medicine Shows Promise In Head And Neck Cancer

Date:
July 19, 2005
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
A compound derived from cottonseed could help improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy at treating head and neck cancer, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A compound derived from cottonseed could help improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy at treating head and neck cancer, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found.

Related Articles


The findings, which appear in the July issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, could lead to a treatment that provides an effective option to surgically removing the cancer, helping patients preserve vital organs involved in speech and swallowing.

While new treatments in head and neck cancer have allowed some patients to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy instead of surgery, this form of cancer is often resistant to chemotherapy. When the cancer does not respond to these powerful drugs, patients must resort to surgery.

"Patients really benefit long-term by avoiding surgery because the side effects of surgery for head and neck cancer can be particularly difficult for patients. It affects how you talk, how you swallow and how you breathe," says study author Carol Bradford, M.D., professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School and co-director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The compound, (-)-gossypol, works to regulate a protein called Bcl-xL that's overexpressed in cancer cells and makes these cells survive when they shouldn't. Shaomeng Wang, Ph.D., co-director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, discovered (-)-gossypol, a compound derived from a component of Chinese medicine.

Gossypol comes from cottonseed and was once used in China as a male contraceptive. More recently, it's been tested as a cancer treatment. Wang found the negative isomer of gossypol binds at a site to block the active Bcl-xL protein. A prior study conducted by researchers in the U-M Head and Neck Oncology Program showed Bcl-xL protein is often highly expressed in head and neck cancers.

In this study, researchers developed head and neck cancer cell cultures resistant to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, a platinum-based drug frequently used to treat this type of cancer. They found cisplatin killed cells with a mutant form of the protein p53, but cells with normal p53 and high levels of Bcl-xL were resistant. The researchers then treated these cisplatin-resistant cell lines with (-)-gossypol and found that (-)-gossypol induced the drug resistant tumor cells to undergo programmed cell death.

"These cisplatin resistant cells are exquisitely sensitive to (-)-gossypol. We can induce cell death in 70 percent to 90 percent of cells. This is a very impressive induction of cell death. It's because we are targeting the pathways these cells need to survive," says study author Thomas Carey, Ph.D., co-director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and a professor in the U-M School of Dentistry and the U-M Medical School.

To test the principle that Bcl-xL and non-mutant p53 determine resistance to cisplatin in head and neck cancer cells, lead study author Joshua Bauer, a U-M graduate student in pharmacology, overexpressed Bcl-xL in tumor cells with mutant or non-mutant p53. Only cells with non-mutant p53 and high Bcl-xL became resistant to cisplatin. Bauer then treated these cells with (-)-gossypol and induced cell death.

To further confirm the importance of Bcl-xL in cisplatin resistance, the researchers used a technique called inhibitory RNA to shut off expression of Bcl-xL in the drug-resistant cells. These cells became sensitive to cisplatin when Bcl-xL was turned off, confirming its role in drug resistance.

"We believe novel agents that target Bcl-xL can improve survival for our patients," Carey says.

In a previous study published in November 2004 in Clinical Cancer Research, Bradford, Carey and their team treated cell cultures of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with the (-)-gossypol compound and found it inhibited tumor cell growth. Additional testing in animals was also positive and showed (-)-gossypol did not harm surrounding healthy tissue.

Researchers hope to begin a clinical trial in head and neck cancer patients within a year, testing whether (-)-gossypol can be used along with chemotherapy to create a better response and avoid surgery.

More than 29,000 people will be diagnosed in 2005 with head and neck cancers, which include cancer of the tongue, mouth, throat and voice box.

University of Michigan holds a patent on the negative isomer, (-)-gossypol, and has licensed the technology to Ascenta Therapeutics of San Diego, Calif., for commercial development. Wang is one of three U-M Medical School faculty members who founded the company and has significant financial interest.

###

The study was funded by the U-M head and neck cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Additional authors were U-M research assistants Bhavna Kumar Jason Castro, Julia Shin-Jung Lee and Jianyong Chen; former U-M resident Douglas Trask, now assistant professor at the University of Iowa; and Gerrit Los from Pfizer Global Research and Development.

To learn more about head and neck cancer, call the Cancer AnswerLine at (800) 865-1125 or visit www.cancer.med.umich.edu/clinic/headneckclinic.htm.

Reference: Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Vol. 4, No. 7, pp. 1096-1104.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Compound From Chinese Medicine Shows Promise In Head And Neck Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050719002405.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2005, July 19). Compound From Chinese Medicine Shows Promise In Head And Neck Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050719002405.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Compound From Chinese Medicine Shows Promise In Head And Neck Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050719002405.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman who blogged for years about her son&apos;s constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins