Methadone for cancer: a First clinical study starts

A few years ago had been shown in the laboratory that methadone makes cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy, and they can die off faster. Since the topic is being discussed in the media and among experts hot now to clear up a by the German cancer aid-funded clinical study, whether the use of methadone in the treatment of colorectal cancer is useful.

The methadone is most people, as a replacement drug for Heroin known. It is a synthetic Opioid with strong analgesic effect. The scientist, Dr. Claudia Friesen from the Institute for legal medicine at the University hospital in Ulm was a few years ago in laboratory experiments, that some of the cancer responded cells to chemotherapy, if, in addition, methadone has been given. A retrospective analysis of the data of 27 patients with brain tumors showed that patients who had received to relieve pain, methadone had a lower relapse rate.

The first clinical study will start in 2020

Since then, a large public interest in the topic. So far, however, there was still no independent clinical study investigating the effect of methadone in cancer specifically. That should change now, in 2020, a prospective study launched under the leadership of scientists of the University hospital of Ulm. To be included patients suffering from advanced colorectal cancer and for whom chemotherapy is not more striking. The hope is that methadone is resistant to made tumor cells more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Side effects are still unclear

The study, which is funded by the German cancer aid, should be weighed the Benefit and the risk of side effects against each other and the objectivity brought into the discussion. First results could be available at the beginning of 2022. Until then, Prof. Uwe Schlegel, Director of the Neurological University clinic in Bochum, advises caution, and recommends outside clinical trials, it is urgently, methadone for the treatment of tumors. The active ingredient stand for example, in the suspicion of damage, especially in high doses and with prolonged use, the heart and shorten the life time.



DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.952

DOI 10.21873/anticanres.11438

DOI 10.1007/s00280-019-03816-3

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