While radiation therapy is a common course of treatment after a malignant tumor is surgically removed, there are often cells that are resistant to radiation that may cause a recurrence of cancer in the patients future. When combined with radiation, the vitamin D analog EB 1089 is capable of wiping out radio-resistant cells that may be present following the surgical removal of a tumor in a clinical situation.
The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research, compares tumor growth in mice treated with radiation alone and mice exposed to radiation and EB 1089, a derivative of vitamin D. Final tumor volume in animals irradiated with EB 1089 was approximately 50 percent lower than in the group that received radiation alone.
The results of our latest study with EB 1089 are very encouraging, said lead author, Dr. Sujatha Sundaram, assistant research professor at Dartmouth Medical School. The vitamin D analog has proven effective in enhancing radiation treatments in our prior studies with cell cultures and now in live mice. We are eager to push ahead to clinical trials with breast cancer treatments in humans.
Each year approximately 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. Of that number, about 40,000 die from the disease, making breast cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths among women between the ages of 20 and 59, according to the American Cancer Society. Radiotherapy is commonly used to treat breast cancer, both before surgery to reduce tumor size and after surgery to reduce tumor recurrence.