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Aspirin and arthritis drugs – can we beat melanoma?

Aspirin and arthritis drugs – can we beat melanoma?
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Some recent studies have demonstrated possible improvements in survival rates and effective treatment of melanoma patients.

Can we beat melanoma with aspirin?

A study examined aspirin for its usefulness as a survival agent. Aspirin may improve survival rates in melanoma patients after the results were published in a study of over 1,500 patients diagnosed with melanoma. Aspirin use was associated with longer overall survival in stages II and III, but was not associated with survival in patients with in situ and stage I melanoma. There was no change in survival rates of those in stage IV. Patients using aspirin before diagnosis were less likely to be diagnosed in stages III or IV of the disease.

Can we beat melanoma with a rheumatoid arthritis drug?

Another study investigated an immunosuppressive rheumatoid arthritis drug, which halted the growth of melanoma cancer cells in mice. This arthritis drug may boost existing melanoma treatments because it works by suppressing the immune system; one major issue with current melanoma treatments is that the tumours become resistant.

The research team first tested the drug on melanoma cells in the lab, where they discovered that the drug could halve the early phase of melanoma cell growth, before forcing the cells to programmed cell death – apoptosis. Apoptosis is our cells’ normal way of self-destructing if they are damaged or diseased, which melanoma and other cancer cells evade in some way, leaving them to replicate and multiply, forming tumours.

In this study, melanoma cells were tested with the arthritis drug in combination with another drug commonly used to treat melanomas. This other drug works by inhibiting a protein that melanoma cells use to survive. The combination of drugs was more effective at stopping melanoma cell growth than either drug on its own.

The next stage of the testing was to see if this combination worked on mice with melanomas. The treatment combination was successful in stopping melanoma tumour growth and in reducing tumour size in the mice within 12 days – much higher success rates than with either drug on its own.

The researchers believe that this arthritis drug can improve current treatments for melanomas, however further studies and human trials are required.

About melanomas

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts off in melanocytes, the type of skin cells that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that causes us to tan, and thus protects us from the sun’s UV rays. About one per cent of all skin cancer is melanoma, but it is the main cause of death from skin cancer.

Skin cancer clinics in Melbourne

Most people in Australia have heard of skin cancer clinics, however, not everyone makes the effort to go to one. Having regular checks at a skin cancer clinic is important for the prevention and quick treatment of melanomas. Our clinic is even better than a skin cancer clinic – we are specialist dermatologists, with doctors on staff who specialise in skin cancers of all kinds. Get the most effective skin cancer clinic and the best dermatologists, at ENRICH in Melbourne.

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