Antihypertension drug Losartan improves pancreatic cancer outcomes
"The most novel element of the trial — use of the antihypertension drug losartan — builds on the findings of co-author Rakesh K. Jain, director of the Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology at MGH and Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues. Those studies found that losartan, which targets the angiotensin signaling pathway, improved the delivery of chemotherapy drugs in animal models of breast, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer. It does so by relieving pressures in the tumor microenvironment that physically block drug delivery and reduce the supply of oxygen, which is required for the tumor-killing effects of radiation therapy. Those studies also found that cancer patients who happened to be taking losartan or similar drugs for hypertension tended to live longer than others receiving the same sorts of cancer therapies.
After completing the chemoradiotherapy stage, 34 of the 49 participants were able to have their tumors removed, with 30 of those procedures successfully eliminating all evidence of cancer around the tumor. A pathologic complete response — which signifies no tumor found anywhere — was achieved for three patients.
Analysis of circulating biomarkers throughout the course of the study found significant drops in the expression of TGF-β, a key element in the angiotensin-signaling pathway, indicating that losartan was having its desired effect.
Both the time until recurrence and the overall survival time were significantly longer than what previously had been seen in LAPC patients."