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Anti-inflammatory drug protects against lung cancer


New therapy reduces lung cancer mortality
In many clinical studies on cancer therapy, scientists have been investigating treatment for patients with advanced disease. A new study is now examining the effectiveness of medication for the first time before cancer occurs. The experts found that the anti-inflammatory drug canakinumab led to a significant reduction in the incidence of lung cancer and lung cancer mortality.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that an anti-inflammatory drug lowers the risk of heart attacks and lung cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Lancet".

Canakinumab slows the progress of certain cancers
Can an anti-inflammatory drug lead to increased life expectancy in cancer patients? Previous research had already indicated a link between cancer and inflammation. The current study examined this relationship in more detail. The results are particularly interesting because the experts point out a possibility that can slow the progression of certain types of cancer.

Researchers are looking for biomarkers for inflammation
For their investigation, the scientists analyzed whether the drug lowered the rate of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart or circulatory diseases. To this end, the doctors examined more than 10,000 patients with a history of heart attacks, who also had a high level of so-called C-reactive protein (hsCRP), which is a biomarker for inflammation.

Lowering the rate of cancer deaths
Study participants received either 50 mg, 150 mg or 300 mg canakinumab or a placebo. The drug was injected subcutaneously every three months. The participants were then medically monitored over a period of up to five and a half years, the scientists explain. The researchers found that a significant reduction in the rate of death from cancer was achieved. The effects on death from lung cancer were particularly strong.

The effect depends on the dose
The effect was dependent on the dose. Lung cancer rates were reduced by 26 percent at a lower dose. With a medium dose, the effect was 39 percent and with a high dose, the effect increased to 67 percent, the experts explain in a press release from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. When patients received the highest dose of the drug (300 mg), the rate of total cancer deaths was reduced by approximately half. In addition, the rate of fatal lung cancer decreased massively compared to placebo-taking participants, the scientists add.

More research is needed
Inflammation is the body's first line of defense against harmful intruders, such as bacteria. Inflammation of this kind can also occur in the lungs when people smoke, inhale polluted air or are exposed to toxins such as silicon dioxide and asbestos, the doctors explain. It is known that these inflammations increase the risk of lung cancer. The results of the study could lead to a new class of therapies for cancer. Up to this point, however, further investigations are necessary to further refine the therapeutic strategies, the researchers concluded. (as)

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