May 17, 2018

Combination of erectile dysfunction drugs and flu vaccine may help kill remaining cancer after surgery

A flu vaccine sits on top of packages of erectile dysfunction drugs

A remarkable study led by Dr. Rebecca Auer from The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) shows that the unlikely combination of erectile dysfunction drugs and the flu vaccine may boost the immune system’s ability to clean up cancer cells left behind after surgery. This method demonstrated promising results in a mouse model, where it reduced the spread of cancer following surgery by 90 per cent. Now the approach will be tested in a first-of-its-kind clinical trial involving 24 patients at TOH.

“We’re really excited about this research because it suggests that two safe and relatively inexpensive therapies may be able to solve a big problem in cancer,” says Auer. “If confirmed in clinical trials, this could become the first therapy to address the immune problems caused by cancer surgery.” Auer is a member of OICR’s Immuno-oncology Translational Research Initiative.

News release: Sex, viruses and cancer: Erectile dysfunction drugs and flu vaccine may work together to help immune system fight cancer after surgery (From The Ottawa Hospital)

Study: Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition reduces postoperative metastatic disease by targeting surgery-induced myeloid derived suppressor cell-dependent inhibition of Natural Killer cell cytotoxicity