MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Pantziarka: This study is one of a number initiated by the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project. ReDO is an international collaboration between the Belgian foundation the Anticancer Fund and the US not-for-profit GlobalCures. ReDO includes researchers based in the UK, Belgium and the US. The project aims to identify the most promising non-cancer drugs which have evidence that they may be effective additions to oncological treatments. Itraconazole, the subject of this study, is a well-characterised and commonly used anti-fungal agent that is available internationally and at relatively low cost.
MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?
Dr. Pantziarka: We have summarised a broad range of in vitro, in vivo and clinical evidence of anti-cancer activity in itraconazole. In particular there is strong evidence that itraconazole has activity against the Hedgehog signalling pathway, which is active in a variety of different cancer indications. Our study also includes details of a number of positive clinical trials which have reported, and includes details of some still in progress. The level of evidence is particularly striking in basal cell carcinoma, prostate and lung cancer.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Pantziarka: Clinicians should find a summary of the various lines of evidence for the anticancer activity of itraconazole. This can inform the design of new clinical trials or it can provide data to support the use of itraconazole as a treatment in appropriate case settings. For patients there is information that they can pass on to their clinicians in order to explore future treatment options.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Pantziarka: As part of our work in the ReDO project we include supplementary information along with our main findings. In the case of itraconazole we have identified a range of possible drug combinations – both standard therapies and other repurposed drugs – which warrant further investigation in a clinical setting. We hope that this can provide a starting point for the design of innovative trials in a number of specified cancers.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pan Pantziarka, PhD (2015). MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pan Pantziarka, PhD