Combination Therapy with Cholesterol Drug May Offer Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment

Fenofibrate with 2-Deoxy-D-glucose shows success treating a variety of cancers.

A combination therapy comprised of the cholesterol drug fenofibrate and the sugar 2-Deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) was successful in the treatment of a variety of cancers, a study published in Oncotarget found.

Researchers developed this novel, non-toxic approach to cancer treatment using the therapy to target a tumor without the toxicity of chemotherapy.

“Cancer cells found in the inner core of all solid tumors, due to the abnormally low levels of oxygen they are in, must rely on the process of glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose for energy, to survive,” said lead study author Theodore Lampidis, PhD.

A previous phase 1 clinical trial that used 2-DG in combination with a conventional anticancer drug was found to also have success; however, toxicity from the chemotherapy continued to cause an issue. In the current study, researchers were able to demonstrate the combination of 2-DG with fenofibrate effectively targeted the entire tumor, and had no chemotherapy toxicity.

“We found that the unique combination of 2-DG and fenofibrate simultaneously provoked 2 types of stress, known as energy and ER stress, which most cancer types cannot overcome,” Lampidis said.

Cancer cells are under more stress than health cells because of their uncontrolled growth and the abnormal micro-environment that the cancer cell exists in. By taking advantage of the universal cancer trait of increased glucose uptake by adding fenofibrate, it effectively exploits the increased stress in cancers.

“We believe our findings effectively pave the way for using this combination to provide non-toxic treatments for a wide variety of cancers,” Lampidis said.