Cancer cells self-destruct with Celebrex

Cancer cells self-destruct with Celebrex

A pain-relief drug Celebrex (Celecoxib), used in higher doses than normal, locks into receptor sites on cancer cell membranes and causes them to self-destruct according to researchers at Emory School of Medicine(1).

The researchers showed that the drug works in a completely different way to the way it works in pain management – with cancer it locks in to a molecular ‘Keyhole’ on the cell surface – dubbed the ‘Death Receptor' .

The researchers used a helper molecule TRAIL, and are saying that other molecules may make the drug even more effective, and new variants of the basic drug may also show improved effects.

Celebrex has been approved by the FDA to fight adenomatous polyposis a precursor to colorectal cancer. In research (2) the Celebrex drug reduces the effect of inflammation-causing COX-2 and reduces polyps by 39-46%. However, the drug is known to increase cardiovascular problems.

Research from the Scripps Research Institute shows how the COX-2 effect can also slow cancer growth(3) in this inherited pre-colorectal cancer situation.

Of course, everything is relative, and 2016 research (4) – the PRECISION TRIAL - showed Celebrex was no more dangerous to your heart than Ibuprofen or Naproxen!

Another study(5) from Rutgers Medical School in 2008, which combined cholesterol-lowering Lipitor with Celebrex, kicked prostate cancer out of mice. Human trials were in Phase II in 2012 at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. There is a little evidence in 2017 research that the drug may reduce motility and thus spread of prostate cancer cells. A trial with Celebrex and breast cancer was also taking place about that time supported by Cancer Research UK, as there was a view that Celebrex could slow the chances of breast cancer returning.

There is also a study with former smokers showing that Celebrex reduces the occurrence of Lung Cancer. Again, the reason given is the anti-inflammatory benefits. All trial patients had a low risk of heart attack.

All in all, the jury is out on this drug with cancer. Clearly it inhibits COX-2; but the research that showed it killed cancer cells was back in 2006, and there seems to be little research so positive since.


2019 Research
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