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Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Sep;5(3):252-68.

Preadministration of high-dose salicylates, suppressors of NF-kappaB activation, may increase the chemosensitivity of many cancers: an example of proapoptotic signal modulation therapy.

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Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care, Evanston, Illinois 60201, USA.


NF-kappaB activity is elevated in a high proportion of cancers, particularly advanced cancers that have been treated previously. Cytotoxic treatment selects for such up-regulation inasmuch as NF-kappaB promotes transcription of a large number of proteins that inhibit both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis; NF-kappaB also boosts expression of mdr1, which expels many drugs from cells. Indeed, high NF-kappaB activity appears to be largely responsible for the chemo- and radioresistance of many cancers. Thus, agents that suppress NF-kappaB activity should be useful as adjuvants to cytotoxic cancer therapy. Of the compounds that are known to be NF-kappaB antagonists, the most practical for current use may be the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs aspirin, salicylic acid, and sulindac, each of which binds to and inhibits Ikappa kinase- beta, a central mediator of NF-kappa activation; the low millimolar plasma concentrations of salicylate required for effective inhibition of this kinase in vivo can be achieved with high-dose regimens traditionally used to manage rheumatic disorders. The gastrointestinal toxicity of such regimens could be minimized by using salsalate or enteric-coated sodium salicy-late or by administering misoprostol in conjunction with aspirin therapy. Presumably, best results would be seen if these agents were administered for several days prior to a course of chemo- or radiotherapy, continuing throughout the course. This concept should first be tested in nude mice bearing xenografts of chemoresistant human tumors known to have elevated NF-kappa activity. Ultimately, more complex adjuvant regimens can be envisioned in which salicylates are used in conjunction with other NF-kappa antagonists and/or agents that target other mediators of down-regulated apoptosis in cancer, such as Stat3; coadministration of salicylate and organic selenium may have intriguing potential in this regard. These strategies may also have potential as adjuvants to metronomic chemotherapy, which seeks to suppress angio-genesis by targeting cycling endothelial cells in tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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