Epilepsy Drug Reduce Growth And Spread Of Breast Cancer

Scientists have discovered that a drug widely used  to combat epilepsy has the potential to reduce the growth and spread of breast cancer.
The drug phenytoin inhibits epilepsy by targeting sodium channels. These channels, known as VGSCs, exist in the membranes of excitable cells, such as neurons, where they are involved in transmission of electrical impulses. They are also present in breast cancer cells where they are thought to help the spread of tumours.
In the research published in Molecular Cancer, the team found that "repurposing" antiepileptic drugs, such as phenytoin, that effectively block the sodium channels, could provide a novel therapy for cancer.
The researchers found that treatment with phenytoin, at doses equivalent to those used to treat epilepsy significantly reduced tumour growth in a preclinical model. Phenytoin also reduced cancer cell proliferation in vivo and invasion into surrounding mammary tissue.
This is the first study to show that phenytoin reduces both the growth and spread of breast cancer tumour cells. This indicates that re-purposing antiepileptic and antiarrhythmic drugs is worthy of further study as a potentially novel anti-cancer therapy.
Based on materials originally posted by University of York.