Clinical Study

Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO)—clarithromycin as an anti-cancer agent

24 Feb 2015
An MT Van Nuffel, Vidula Sukhatme, Pan Pantziarka, Lydie Meheus, Vikas P Sukhatme, Gauthier Bouche

Clarithromycin (CAM) is a well-known macrolide antibiotic available as a generic drug. CAM is traditionally used for many types of bacterial infections, treatment of Lyme disease and eradication of gastric infection with Helicobacter pylori. Extensive preclinical and clinical data demonstrate a potential role for CAM to treat various tumours in combination with conventional treatment. The mechanisms of action underlying the anti-tumour activity of CAM are multiple and include prolonged reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, autophagy inhibition, and anti-angiogenesis. Here, we present an overview of the current preclinical (in vitro and in vivo) and clinical evidence supporting the role of CAM in cancer. Overall these findings justify further research with CAM in many tumour types, with multiple myeloma, lymphoma, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), and lung cancer having the highest level of evidence. Finally, a series of proposals are being made to further investigate the use of CAM in clinical trials which offer the greatest prospect of clinical benefit to patients.

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