Drugs used to lower blood pressure can potentially block breast and pancreatic cancer invasion by inhibiting their cellular structures, say researchers.
The study discovered that calcium channel blockers -- currently used to treat hypertension -- can efficiently stop cancer cells move and invade surrounding tissue. Identification of anti-hypertension drugs as potential therapeutics against breast and pancreatic cancer metastasis was a big surprise, said reseachers.
The targets of these drugs were not known to be present in cancer cells and therefore no one had considered the possibility that these drugs might be effective against aggressive cancer types, said Johanna Ivaska at the University of Turku in Finland. The findings showed that aggressively spreading cancer cells express a protein called Myosin-10 which drives cancer cell motility.
Myosin-10 expressing cancers have a large number of structures called filopodia, or sticky finger-like structures the cancer cells extend to sense their environment and to navigate - imagine a walking blind spider, explained Guillaume Jacquemet, postdoctoral researcher at University of Turku.
The calcium channel blockers target specifically these sticky fingers rendering them inactive, thus efficiently blocking cancer cell movement. This suggest that they might be effective drugs against cancer metastasis, the researchers said. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.