Ibuprofen inhibits growth of some cancers
2 October 2013
Long-term use of Ibuprofen could give protection against prostate
cancer, some colon cancers and several other cancers, according to
research at the University of Bath.
Ibuprofen, a member of the family of drugs known as NSAIDs
(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), is one of the most commonly
taken non-prescription drugs alongside paracetamol and aspirin.
Unlike many drugs ibuprofen can exist in two different forms,
known as R- and S-. Only the S-form has anti-inflammatory properties
whilst the R-form is inactive. However the body can convert
R-ibuprofen into S-ibuprofen through a process known as chiral
inversion – something scientists believe may have knock-on benefits
in fighting cancer.
This is because the enzyme that performs chiral inversion, alpha-methylacyl-CoA
racemase (AMACR), has increased levels in prostate cancer, some
colon cancers and several other cancers. This latest research
hypothesises that the body’s processing of the drug reduces the
normal activity of this enzyme, which is important for the cancer
growth, and so in turn affecting this enzyme could stop the cancer
Researcher Dr Matthew Lloyd said, “The chiral inversion behaviour
of ibuprofen in humans has been known since at least the 1970s.
However, it is not until now that the specific proteins that perform
the various steps have been identified.
“This study focusses on the final enzyme that produces active
ibuprofen, which fights cancer by targeting cyclooxygenase (COX)
enzymes. It will also help us understand how ibuprofen fights cancer
by targeting AMACR.”
Qu X et al. Hydrolysis of ibuprofenoyl-CoA and other 2-APA-CoA
esters by human acyl-CoA thioesterases-1 and -2 and their possible
role in the chiral inversion of profens. Biochemical
Pharmacology. Available online 13 September 2013.