Blood Pressure Drugs May Prevent Metastasis

Calcium channel blockers prevented cancer cells from invading surrounding tissue.

Results from a new study suggest that calcium channel blockers that treat high blood pressure could protect against cancer metastasis.

Calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the body, while also preventing the heart from overworking. They can be used for numerous heart conditions, including high blood pressure. The investigators now believe that it could inhibit the ability of aggressive cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue.

The researchers discovered that these drugs are able to effectively prevent cancer cell invasion in vitro, which could lead to potential new treatments for inhibiting cancer metastases, according to a study published by Nature Communications.

When cancer metastasizes, the disease is hard to control and there are few effective treatments, making the development of drugs that inhibit metastasis extremely important. These new drugs could prevent deaths, and improve quality of life for these patients.

However, drug development is a lengthy and costly process. Many drug candidates fail in clinical trials due to unforeseen issues, such as toxicity and adverse events. These factors make drug repurposing an ideal avenue for researchers aiming to develop novel cancer treatments.

Previously, there was no speculation that anti-hypertensive drugs could prevent breast and pancreatic cancer metastasis, since the target of the drug was not known to exist within cancer cells, according to the study.

The team of investigators previously discovered that aggressive cancer cells express the Myosin-10 protein, which drives cancer cell motility. This process is associated with the movement of cancer cells and the invasion of surrounding tissues.

Cancers that express Myosin-10 have an increased number of filopodia, which are finger-like structures used by cancer cells to sense and navigate their environment, according to the study.

The investigators found that calcium channel blockers target and inhibit the filopodia. This prevents cancer cells from moving, and could also prevent metastases.

The investigators are now evaluating the ability of these drugs to prevent metastasis in preclinical breast and pancreatic cancer models, and in patient data.

While this could be a promising treatment, additional studies are needed to determine whether anti-hypertensive drugs could be used to prevent metastasis in animals or humans, the study concluded.