A medication used for rheumatoid arthritis, auranofin, might also combat ovarian cancer.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune conditions often share certain links to various forms of cancer.
From having some of the same treatments to putting patients at risk for the other ailment, autoimmunity and cancer can be, for better or worse, associated.
The association isn’t always bad. Sometimes, a treatment for one may prove itself to be useful in treating the other.
While drugs like methotrexate and rituximab as well as steroid treatment, and therapies such as IVIG infusions have long overlapped for both cancer and RA, a new discovery about an old RA drug has recently come to light — and it shows promise for patients suffering from a certain form of ovarian cancer.
Attacking a Mutant Gene
Some patients with ovarian cancer associated with the BRCA1 gene mutation (now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Angelina Jolie” gene) have responded positively to treatment from auranofin, a drug that is an older, but still used, rheumatoid arthritis medication.
In a recent study, performed by researchers from Plymouth University in the United Kingdom (U.K.) in association with the Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust and Plymouth University, patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were treated with auranofin.