Saturday, January 9, 2010

Celexicob (Celebrex) study shows promise for skin cancer prevention and treatment

Skin cancer may have a new foe. In a study of individuals prone to the development of basal cell carcinoma, the drug celexicob (Celebrex), a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID), was found to reduce the number of basal cell skin cancers in a comparison of two groups of study participants.

The study was developed to find out if the celexicob could help individuals with a rare disorder known as Gorlin syndrome - a hereditary disorder that typically leads to hundreds and even thousands of basal skin cell cancers in individuals diagnosed with the disease. The scientists found "some benefit" from Celebrex for reducing the number of basal cell carcinomas, one of the most common types of cancer that occurs in the general population.

Ervin H. Epstein Jr., M.D., senior scientist at the Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California says, "The underlying idea is if we can find something in these high-risk patients that could be translatable to the 'normal' population, then we could ultimately use that form of chemoprevention to reduce the numbers of skin cancer in all people." The findings that celexicob inhibits the growth of skin cancer has public health implications, though there is some concern about the cardiovascular side effects of the medication that include heart attack and stroke.

The researchers examined 60 patients with basal cell carcinoma to receive either 200 mg of oral celecoxib two times a day or placebo. After about two years, the two groups were compared. The scientists found that patients given placebo had a 50 percent increase in basal cell cancer per year compared with a 20 percent increase for those who received celecoxib.

The potential for a therapy that would impact the incidence of this would be huge," said Charles Rudin, MD associate director for clinical research at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins. The anti inflammatory drug celexicob, combined with other agents could also lead to the development of new treatments for basal cell carcinoma.

Cancer Prevention Research