A common painkiller often used to treat migraines, fever and rheumatoid arthritis may also play a key role in treating cancer. Researchers involved with The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project say the drug diclofenac, also sold as Voltaren, Zipsor, Solaraze and Cambia, has been shown to contain significant anti-cancer properties, UPI.com reported.

Part of the excitement over the drug’s potential is the effect it has on the immune system, and on the development of blood vessels that move oxygen and nutrients to tissues. Retrospective analysis of medical records for cancer patients who were treated with diclofenac before surgery to remove tumors showed the drug had a significant impact on the risk of metastasis and reduced mortality, UPI.com reported. The findings were published in the open-access journal ecancermedicalscience. 

ReDO researchers are currently investigating the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug’s (NSAID) effects on cancer in four clinical trials. Three of the trials use the painkiller as part of TL-118, an experimental four-drug combination, UPI.com reported.

“It’s still somewhat surprising that there is still so much we don’t understand about how many of the standard drugs we use every day, like diclofenac, work,” Dr. Pan Pantziarka, a researcher at the Anticancer Fund, said in a press release. “But the more we learn, the more we can see that these drugs are multi-targeted agents with interesting and useful effects on multiple pathways of interest in oncology.”
 

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