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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Cancer Channel
Reported February 22, 2013

Medication Combination Prevents Cancer


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies; some things are just better when they are together. This is even true for some drugs, as researchers recently discovered. A new study found that giving people with high risk of head and neck cancer a combination of an EGFR inhibitor and a COX-2 inhibitor can actually lower their risk of developing the cancer. 
“An effective prevention approach is desperately needed, especially since we can identify patients who are at extremely high risk: those with advanced oral precancerous lesions," Dong Moon Shin, M.D., Professor of Hematology, Medical Oncology, and Otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine, was quoted as saying. 
Using the drug erlotinib as the EGFR inhibitor and celecoxib as the COX-2 inhibitor, researchers administered the drug combination to eleven patients with advanced oral precancerous lesions. Tissue samples were then taken three, six, and twelve months after the start of the drug therapy for researchers to analyze, although only seven of the patients has biopsies at the baseline as well as follow-ups. 
Out of seven patients, precancerous lesions were not seen in the follow-up biopsies for three and two others showed a partial response to the drug combination. While two of the patients had progressive disease at the time of the follow-up biopsy, the possible benefits are exciting.  
"Finding that this drug combination caused some advanced premalignant lesions to completely disappear was great news," Dr. Shin was quoted as saying. 
These two medications could prove to be an effective preventative tool, but researchers are still unsure about the possible side effects the drug combination may have on people’s bodies. In the study alone, several participants dropped out because the side effects were too severe. 
However, in addition to looking into the safety and toxicity of the drug combination… 
“We are also looking to combination therapies using less toxic or nontoxic agents, such as natural compounds," Dr. Shin was quoted as saying. 
Source: Clinical Cancer Research, February 2013
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