Talcum powder stunts growth of lung tumors

ered in 1997, doctors hoped its tumor-fighting properties would lead to a cure for cancer. But clinical trials have been disappointing, possibly because most clinicians have injected the hormone directly into patients. The hormone breaks down in the body before it has a chance to slow the spread of cancer, Antony said.

It was there, it had a very short half life, it was gone, Antony said. What weve done is caused the normal pleural mesothelial cells to continue to produce endostatin. Talc doesnt go away. Talc stays in the chest cavity, constantly causing the normal cells to produce this factor that inhibits the growth of the tumor.

The antitumor effects of talc appear to be long-lasting, said Antony, who is continuing to investigate the long-term outcomes of patients who have undergone talc pleurodesis.

It surprised us that such a cheap, easily available product, such an old-fashioned product, can have benefits to the patient and perhaps prolong the patients life, Antony said.

Yossef Aelony, M.D., a clinical professor of respiratory and critical care medicine at the Harbor-University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, said the UF findings are an important milestone.

This work will undoubtedly have a significant influence on future clinical trials dealing with the treatment of pleural malignancies, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and metastatic adenocarcinoma involving the pleural surfaces, Aelony said.


Contact: Ann Griswold
University of Florida

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