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Reprofiling of Antipsychotic Drugs for Cancer Treatment

Yosif Gerchev, Samuela Krasteva, Monika Yaneva, Dragomir Stoyanov, Zhivko Apostolov


Introduction: Drug reprofiling is an important and substantial part of discovering new pharmacological approaches, especially when it comes to cancer treatment. Antipsychotic drugs are widely used in oncology for their proven benefits in ameliorating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which allows researchers to observe additional effects in large group of patients without exposing them to any undue risk. On the other hand, latest studies show correlation between the antipsychotic treatment and the incidence of both benign and malignant tumors, which puts the patients suffering from different mental disorders in a greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Materials and Methods: We performed a review of articles containing results of multi-centric in vivo and in vitro trials published on PubMed and ScienceDirect.

Results: Recent studies prove that both first-generation antipsychotics such as thioridazine and pimozide, and second-generation antipsychotics such as risperidone and aripiprazole merit further research of their ability to reverse resistance to chemotherapy, improving the anticancer activity of numerous antineoplastic agents and inhibiting tumor growth. Risperidone is shown to be potentially effective in the treatment of adenocarcinoma, while thioridazine and aripiprazole enhance the sensitivity to antineoplastic drugs by alternating the marker expression of cancer stem cells.

Conclusion: Antipsychotic drug co-administration in patients with different types of cancer provides a new therapeutic opportunity and better understanding of cancer biology. Chemical genomics mark a new era in pharmacological investigations, expanding the treatment range of already known drugs. Both the health and economic benefits of such biotechnological approach are immeasurable.


antipsychotic drugs, cancer treatment, drug reprofiling


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