Potentially fatal side-effect may be preventable, new study suggests
Topoisomerase II inhibitors are among the most successful chemotherapy drugs used to treat human cancer. But a small percentage of patients treated with these agents recover from their initial malignancy only to develop a second cancer, leukemia.
Researchers at UC Davis Cancer Center have shed new light on this poorly understood process. In a study to be published in the Nov. 22 issue of the journal Leukemia, the researchers report that topoisomerase II inhibitors do not directly cause leukemia -- and suggest that it may be possible to prevent therapy-induced leukemia. (The study was posted online in the journal on Sept. 29.)
"There are two competing theories of how these therapy-induced leukemias arise," said Andrew Vaughan, a radiation biologist at UC Davis Cancer Center and senior author of the new study. "One is that the topoisomerase II inhibitor drugs, in combination with the topoisomerase II enzyme they target, induce random genetic changes that lead to leukemia onset. The other is that another, potentially correctable process is at work."
Claudia Morain | EurekAlert!
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