Old antidepressants show promise as immuno-oncology treatments in melanoma and colon cancer
Posted by Charles Decuir on June 10, 2021 10:50 AM EDT
A class of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) first hit the market in the 1950s and has since been eclipsed by drugs that are less likely to cause unwanted side effects. Now, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have evidence that these drugs may be able to be repurposed in the treatment of cancer.
The UCLA researchers discovered MAOIs help the immune system fight cancer, slowing the growth of colon tumors and melanoma in mice. They reported their findings in two papers, one published Nature Communications and the other in Science Immunology, UCLA said in a statement.
By studying immune cells from melanoma tumors in mice, the UCLA team discovered that immune cells that had invaded the tumors showed high activity of the gene monoamine oxidase A. The protein that gene produces, MAO-A is the target of MAOI drugs.