Repurposed Drug May Lead to New Glioblastoma Treatments

Design of formulations based on flavopiridol shows promise inhibiting brain cancer cell growth.

Although glioblastoma is an incurable disease, a study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology found that repurposing the old drug flavopiridol can restrain cancer cell growth, which is a significant step towards the development of new treatments.

“The design of new flavopiridol-based formulations, aimed at starving cancer cells cutting short the sugar they're addicted to, may open up new therapeutic avenues for patients with glioblastoma,” said researcher Antonio Giordano.

Glioblastoma cells switch towards a glycolytic energetic metabolism. Flavopiridol is able to inactivate the glycogen phosphorylase enzyme, and researchers believe this switch may offer a therapeutic target in the future.

The goal of the study was to determine if flavopiridol could be used to restrain glioblastoma cell growth by decreasing glucose availability, ultimately cutting off the tumor’s energy supply. Researchers believe that flavopiridol’s ability to reduce glycolysis in glioblastoma cells and inhibit their proliferation is a positive step towards deriving new treatments.

“This points toward a possible new use of this compound or flavopiridol-derived formulations in combination with anti-proliferative agents in glioblastoma patients,” said lead study author Annamaria Cimini.