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The Rationale for Repurposing Sildenafil for Lung Cancer Treatment

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. 3 ]

Author(s):

Theodore Keats, Rhonda J. Rosengren and John C. Ashton*   Pages 367 - 374 ( 8 )

Abstract:


There is now a considerable body of evidence for sildenafil possessing anticancer properties. In this article, we argue the case for testing sildenafil as a lung cancer therapy chemoadjuvant. Currently, lung cancer is a disease with insufficient treatment options, with only 20% of patients responding to systemic chemotherapy, and even incremental potential improvements should be explored. We review the literature concerning the biochemical, physiological and metabolic effects on cancer cells by sildenafil alone, and when combined with chemotherapeutic agents. Most studies have shown that sildenafil is cytotoxic to cancer cells, both as a monotherapy and as a chemoadjuvant. Sildenafil enhances cancer cell apoptosis when used as a chemoadjuvant both in vitro and in vivo. In particular, in rodent experiments sildenafil has decreased tumour size compared to chemotherapy alone. Sildenafil has also been proven as an agent to decrease drug-efflux by cancer cells and increases blood perfusion to lung tissue, which can potentially increase the dosage of chemotherapeutic agents delivered to lung cancer cells compared to healthy tissue. In addition, the proven clinical effects of sildenafil on other lung diseases suggest that it could improve other patient outcomes, such as right ventricular function and quality of life. Sildenafil may also extend the half-life of docetaxel and some small molecule inhibitors used in lung cancer treatment by acting as an inhibitor of CYP3A4. We conclude that the evidence strongly warrants clinical investigation into the use of sildenafil as an agent for the treatment of lung-cancer.

Keywords:

Adjuvant chemotherapy, lung cancer, PDE5 inhibitor, pharmacokinetics, sildenafil, repurposing.

Affiliation:

Department of Biochemistry, Otago School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Otago School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Otago School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin

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