Drug Combo Stops Recurrent Colon Polyps
Researchers Say DFMO Plus Sulindac Less Toxic Than Chemotherapy
WebMD News Archive
Use Foreseen in People at High Risk of Colon Cancer
Meyskens says that DFMO, which is short for difluoromethylornithine, was
developed as a cancer medication, but is now
used to treat African sleeping sickness. It's also used to remove unwanted
hair. Sulindac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is also sold as
Meyskens says that further study is needed to confirm both the safety and
effectiveness of the combo treatment. But he thinks it will eventually be used
to help prevent colon cancer in "people at highest risk, such as people
with advanced adenoma on colonoscopy."
It may also prove useful for "people with early colon cancer who have
been cured. Without treatment, about one-third will go on to have another colon
cancer," he says.
Celebrex Also Slashes Polyp Risks
A second study presented at the meeting showed that the popular painkiller
Celebrex also slashes the risk of developing new precancerous colon growths
-- even after people stop taking the drug.
But that research also showed that people taking Celebrex had more heart
stroke, and other cardiovascular problems, particularly if they already had
The researchers followed people who were involved in a study that was
terminated early after Celebrex was linked to an increased risk of
Participants took either 200 milligrams or 400 milligrams of Celebrex, or a
placebo, twice a day, for three years. About 600 of them had a follow-up
colonoscopy an average of one-and-one-half years after stopping the drug.
"At three years, there was about a 57% reduction in the presence of new
advanced lesions in patients on the lower dose of Celebrex," says Monica
Bertagnolli, MD, associate professor of surgery at the Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston.
By an average of one-and-one-half years after discontinuing treatment, there
was still a 41% reduction in advanced lesions among people on the lower dose of
Celebrex, she tells WebMD
The higher dose was no more effective than the lower dose, Bertagnolli
Heart Safety of Celebrex Is a Concern
But 8.5% of patients on Celebrex had a
heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problem over the five-year
period, Bertagnolli says.