Researchers in the Netherlands have found that the herbal dietary supplement St. Johns wort interferes with the metabolism--and potentially the effectiveness of--the chemotherapy drug irinotecan. Their findings appear in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
St. Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is widely used to treat mild to moderate forms of depression. Past studies have suggested that the compound increases levels of CYP3A4, an enzyme involved in drug metabolism. The enzyme inactivates the colorectal cancer chemotherapy drug irinotecan.
To examine the interaction between St. Johns worts and irinotecan, Ron H. J. Mathijssen, M.D., and Alex Sparreboom, Ph.D., of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, and their colleagues treated five patients with irinotecan alone or in combination with St. Johns wort.
Linda Wang | EurekAlert!
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