Salicylic Acid Could Potentially Treat Cancer

Salicylic acid was able to suppress the p300 protein and stop leukemia progression.

Researchers in a recent study discovered that salicylic acid can stop inflammation and cancer.

Salicylic acid and diflunisal are both able to suppress both the p300 protein and CREB-binding protein (CBP), which control gene expression specifically inflammation and cell growth, according to the study published by eLife. Both salicylic acid and diflunisal inhibit the proteins and stop their activation, which stops cellular damage from inflammation.

"Salicylic acid is one of the oldest drugs on the planet, dating back to the Egyptians and the Greeks, but we're still discovering new things about it," said senior author Eric Verdin, MD. "Uncovering this pathway of inflammation that salicylic acid acts upon opens up a host of new clinical possibilities for these drugs."

Previous studies identified an association between p300 and AML1-ETO, which is a leukemia-promoting protein. Researchers in the current study suppressed p300 with diflunisal and found that it stopped cancer progression and shrunk leukemia tumors in mouse models, according to the study.

"The ability to repurpose drugs that are already FDA-approved to be part of novel therapies for cancer patients is incredibly exciting," said co-author Stephen D. Nimer, MD. "We have conducted a clinical trial of salicylic acid in patients with hematologic cancers and found it to be safe. Thus, this collaborative effort to develop novel epigenetic therapies is an important next step in our journey to find more effective treatment for leukemia patients."

Researchers are pursuing a clinical trial to use salicylic acid for leukemia treatment. The researchers also believe it could be used for different types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.