Head and neck cancers originate on the epithelium the layer of tissue covering the outermost surfaces of the body, including the skin and mucus membranes. Kaposi's sarcoma tumors arise from the endothelium, the cells that line blood vessels.
"The vast majority of endostatin studies have concentrated on endostatin's effects against endothelial cells, and haven't focused on the drug's anti-tumorigenic possibilities," said Susan Mallery, the study's lead author and a professor in the Ohio State College of Dentistry's department of oral and maxillofacial surgery and pathology.
"We wanted to explore other options for endostatin use," she said.
After getting promising laboratory results with treating oral cavity tumor cells taken from men with oral cancer with endostatin, Mallery is suggesting the possibility of an implanted drug delivery system, one that could deliver endostatin directly to the site of a tumor after it was surgically removed.
"About half of all people with head and neck cancers die as a result of local disease recurrence," Mallery said, adding that such cancers account for about 7 percent of all cancers in the United States. "Another major concern is patient compliance with follow-up treatment after the original tumor is removed.
"It's possible that one day doctors could treat these patients with an implanted delivery device that dispenses a sustained, therapeutic drug concentration right where it is needed the most where the tumor was," she continued. "Such a treatment option not only provides a constant therapeutic drug level, it also eliminates concerns regarding patient compliance."