Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researchers have found that chaetocin, a by-product of a common wood mold, has promise as a new anti-myeloma agent. Results of their study, being presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, show the by-product to be more effective than currently used therapies at killing multiple myeloma cells.
The complete findings are also available online in Blood.
"There were a number of fascinating findings," says Keith Bible, M.D., Ph.D., oncologist and the study's primary investigator. "In addition to observing many favorable aspects of chaetocin, we discovered some avenues for further research into other possible anti-myeloma agents."
Multiple myeloma is an incurable bone marrow cancer that kills more than 11,000 people each year in the United States, reports the American Cancer Society. Dr. Bible's team has shown for the first time that chaetocin has promising anti-myeloma activity. They found that chaetocin's promise includes the ability to:
- Kill myeloma cells harboring a diverse array of genetic abnormalities
- Cause biological changes and induce oxidative stress in myeloma cells, leading to their death
- Selectively kill myeloma cells with superior efficacy to commonly-used anti-myeloma drugs including dexamethasone and doxorubicin
- Reduce myeloma growth in mice
- Rapidly accumulate in cancer cells
The researchers were surprised that chaetocin, while structurally similar to anti-cancer agents known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs), did not, at cytotoxic concentrations, seem to function as an HDACI; but instead that the cytotoxic mechanism appeared to be at least in part attributable to oxidative stress caused by chaetocin.