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Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Oct 15;58(8):1229-36.

Effects of psychotropic drugs on cell proliferation and differentiation.

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Felsenstein Medical Research Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tiqva, Israel.


Some of the psychotropic agents widely used for the amelioration of anxiety, depression, and psychosis also show an effect at the cellular proliferation level. Surprisingly little research, however, has been directed to the antitumoral potential of these drugs, alone or in combination with established cancer treatments. Our review of the literature to date has yielded some promising early findings. Ligands active at the benzodiazepine (BZ) receptors have been studied the most extensively and were found to have differential, concentration-dependent effects on the growth and proliferation of both normal and cancer cells. Of the phenothiazines tested, chlorpromazine (CPZ) and perphenazine (PPZ) had the most potent cytotoxic action on fibroblasts and glioma cells. Antiproliferative effects also were noted by these and other agents in leukemic and breast cancer cell lines. Additional psychotropic drugs studied include the atypical antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers, especially lithium. Most of the reported activities were observed in in vitro studies and were achieved at high pharmacological concentrations. Further in vivo studies in well-designed animal models are warranted to determine whether these well-tolerated, relatively inexpensive, and widely available drugs or their derivatives may be added in the future to the armamentarium of cancer pharmacotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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