Common Painkiller Shows Cancer-Fighting Properties

Combination of diclofenac with chemotherapy and radiation may greatly improve treatment of cancer patients.

A common painkiller found in many medicine cabinets at home was found to have significant anti-cancer properties.

Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) widely used by rheumatoid arthritis patients and for the treatment of migraines, fevers, acute gout, and aid for pain after operations.

The appeal in using diclofenac is that it is cheap, accessible, has been heavily tested, is cost-effective, and available in generic form.

Researchers believe that when you combine diclofenac with chemotherapy and radiation, it could greatly improve results and has the potential to even treat cancer, according to researchers.

Although other NSAID drugs have showed some promise in cancer prevention, there has been no trials performed for actually treating cancer.

However, researchers feel that there is plausible evidence that shows promise in the use of diclofenac for cancer. Clinical trials are still needed in order to evaluate the drug’s performance, however.

"It's still somewhat surprising that there is still so much we don't understand about how many of the standard drugs we use every day, like diclofenac, work," said study author Pan Pantziarka PhD. "But the more we learn, the more we can see that these drugs are multi-targeted agents with interesting and useful effects on multiple pathways of interest in oncology.”

Currently, patients are able to manage their primary cancers, it is usually metastatic disease that is often the killer.

Researchers say that if physicians can cut down on the post-surgical risks of metastases, the use of standard drugs like diclofenac could be a step in the right direction for successfully fighting cancers.

"It may also be that diclofenac may have actions which synergize with the latest generation of checkpoint inhibitors -- the combination of the latest drugs in the anticancer armory with some of the oldest is especially exciting," Pantziarka said.