A team of scientists at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center published a research paper showing that a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called ketorolac helped women with ovarian cancer to survive longer.
Ovarian cancer has no symptoms. Often, it is discovered only after it has spread to other organs. Fewer than half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are still alive five years later. This survival rate has not changed much in the last 20 years.
Ketorolac, marketed as Toradol®, is approved for clinical use in the United States for pain after surgery. The drug is given as an equal mixture of S-ketorolac and R-ketorolac. The R- and S-ketorolac have the same chemical formula but, like right and left hands, they are mirror images of each other in three dimensions.
The new research tested the equal mixture of R- and S-ketorolac in women with ovarian cancer. The research demonstrated that when ketorolac is injected into the bloodstream, the body removes S-ketorolac more rapidly and allows R-ketorolac to move to and gather in the peritoneal cavity.
The peritoneal cavity contains the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the surfaces of other organs where ovarian cancer starts and grows. In gathering here, the R-ketorolac is ready to turn off the GTPases that increase the tumor cells’ ability to grow and spread. GTPases are like molecular switches inside cells. The GTPases that control cellular growth and spread are more active in cancer cells, making them important drug targets for cancer.
The scientists also studied the medical records of women who underwent ovarian cancer surgery between 2004 and 2006. They found that after five years, women who had received ketorolac after surgery to ease their pain were more likely to have survived their cancer.
The scientists are planning a series of human clinical trials to better understand how ketorolac works in women after ovarian cancer surgery.
Authors of the paper are: Yuna Guo, S. Ray Kenney, Linda Cook, Sarah F. Adams, Teresa Rutledge, Elsa Romer, Tudor I. Oprea, Larry A. Sklar, Edward Bedrick, Charles L. Wiggins, Huining Kang, Lesley Lomo, Carolyn Y. Muller, Angela Wandinger-Ness, Laurie G. Hudson.
The paper “A novel pharmacologic activity of ketorolac for therapeutic benefit in ovarian cancer patients” was published in the June 12, 2015 online edition of Clinical Cancer Research (clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
Watch the interview with Dr. Wandinger-Ness and Dr. Hudson on "The Morning Brew."
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence; contributions to cancer research; delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans; and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of more than $72 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.
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