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Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 12 824 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2018.824

Clinical Study

Repurposing drugs in oncology (ReDO)—selective PDE5 inhibitors as anti-cancer agents

Selective phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors, including sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, are widely-used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. They are also well-known as examples of successful drug repurposing in that they were initially developed for angina and only later developed for erectile dysfunction. However, these drugs may also be effective cancer treatments. A range of evidentiary sources are assessed in this paper and the case made that there is pre-clinical and clinical evidence that these drugs may offer clinical benefit in a range of cancers. In particular, evidence is presented that these drugs have potent immunomodulatory activity that warrants clinical study in combination with check-point inhibition.

Keywords: drug repurposing, PDE5 inhibitors, sildenafil, tadalafil, verdenafil, immunotherapy

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Author interviews

Pan Pantziarka

Anticancer Fund, Brussels, Belgium

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Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

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Cancer Intelligence