Leukemia drug may help fight skin cancer

September 2, 2014

The leukemia drug dasatinib may prove useful for treating skin, breast and other cancers, according to recent findings.

The leukemia drug dasatinib may prove useful for treating skin, breast and other cancers, according to recent findings.

Researchers with Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine found that dasatinib, when applied to cancer cells in a laboratory setting, causes a cell-cell adhesion and halts cell migration, according to a news release. When used to treat leukemia, dasatinib targets the protein BCR-ABL, which is similar to the Fyn protein found in cancers such as those of the skin, brain, breast and pancreas. Dasatinib did not eliminate Fyn, but it did inhibit its activity, researchers found.

In mice with skin cancer, dasatinib helped to reduce the number and size of their tumors, investigators noted.

“Topical dasatinib treatment significantly reduced total tumor burden of the SKH1 mouse model of UV-induced skin carcinogenesis,” study authors wrote. “These results identify the promotion of actin-based cell-cell adhesion as a newly described mechanism of action for dasatinib and suggest Fyn inhibition may be an effective therapeutic approach in treating cSCC.”

Clinical trials will test dasatinib on patients with melanoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, gastrointestinal stromal cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The findings were published online June 29 in Molecular Carcinogenesis.

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