According to new household research in the United Kingdom, scientists have often discovered the comment of a family of enzymes in the development of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction could improve the effect of chemotherapy in the treatment of esophageal cancer. .
In the first results of the research program published this Tuesday, June 21 in Cell Reports MedicineScientists have found that the mechanism of inhibition of enzymes used mainly in the treatment of erection problems, could reverse the resistance to chemotherapy and significantly reduce the development of cancerous tumors of the esophagus.
L’espoir resides in the inhibitor of PDE5, a substance that inhibits the action of the enzyme phosphodiesterase located in the smooth muscle cells bordering the blood vessels that supply especially the corpora cavernosa of the penis.
Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) is an enzyme that is a natural erection mechanism. When this enzyme is inhibited, the erection is prolonged: it is what promotes drugs against erectile problems, such as Viagra, the most famous of them.
Such cooperation between this treatment for erectile dysfunction and chemotherapy plays a key role in the metastatic evolution of the tumor.
Resistance to chemotherapy in esophageal cancer is influenced by the “tumor microenvironment”, the area around the tumor. It is made up of molecules, blood vessels, and cells such as fibroblasts associated with cancer (CAF), which are important for tumor growth. This “tumor microenvironment” feeds the tumor and can act as a protective coat, preventing treatments such as chemotherapy from having an effect.
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Or, it appears that high levels of PDE5 have been found in fibroblasts taken from the tumor microenvironment, suggesting that researchers PDE5 would be an effective target for the treatment of esophageal cancer cells. Often clinical trials will now continue to develop an adapted care protocol in the coming years.
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Because early results suggest that PDE5 inhibitors combined with chemotherapy may reduce certain esophageal tumors more than chemotherapy alone, in addressing resistance to chemotherapy, are one of the main challenges of treatment. of esophageal cancer. Moreover, this advanced pathway could pave the way for the use of PDE5 inhibitors in other cancers.
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In all likelihood, if a treatment is the result of this program, it could help a significant number of patients around the world. On average, between 8,000 and 9,000 people are diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year in France.