Three New Cancer Drugs Show Promise

Recent studies show that three new drugs — Xeloda, angiostatin and endostatin, show promise as cancer treatments.

Xeloda (capecitabine), which received FDA approval last week, is taken orally and is used by breast cancer patients whose tumors have already shown resistance to another commonly-used drug called Taxol. When Xeloda is ingested, the body converts the drug to 5-flourouracil (5FU), an established cancer drug.

Xeloda shrank tumors in 18.5% of women whose tumors had already shown resistance to commonly-used cancer drugs. Many women experienced severe side effects including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, oral inflammation, swollen hands and feet, rashes, and mild bone marrow suppression.

Two other drugs, angiostatin and endostatin, are being considered for possible clinical trials after success in animal trials. National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Richard Klausner deemed the new drugs “the single most exciting thing on the horizon.”

Angiostatin and endostatin have eradicated all types of cancer in mice, and doctors hope that these benefits will also extend to humans. Angiostatin blocks the development of blood vessels that feed tumors, and endostatin comes from a protein contained in tumors that inhibits the growth of additional tumors.

When these two drugs were combined and administered to mice, they brought tumor growth to a complete halt. Klauser expects that clinic trials in humans will start within a year.

Breast Cancer Information Center


Reuters - May 3, 1998

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