Viagra Shown to Reduce Colorectal Cancer in Mice

APRIL 02, 2018
The results of a recent study have shown that Viagra may offer other benefits, in addition to treating erectile dysfunction. Researchers at Augusta University in Georgia concluded that small daily doses of Viagra may also reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.1,2 That study was supported by the National Cancer Institute, as colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer within the United States.

The study was conducted on a group of mice that received small doses of Viagra each day in their water. After consuming the medication over a period of time, researchers noticed that the number of tumors in the mice decreased by 50%. Scientists think the success is related to the increase of cGMP within the body, as elevations of this chemical promote the health of the intestinal lining. Dr. Darren D. Browning, one of the researchers at Augusta University, thinks that daily doses of Viagra decrease the formation of polyps and asymptomatic clumps of cells, which often become cancer within the body. Viagra is known to inhibit PDE5, a naturally occurring enzyme in colon cells, along with several other tissues, which in turn break down cGMP. If more cGMP is available, it can then reduce cell proliferation and improve differentiation into cells such as the goblet cells that secret protective mucus.

These trials have not been conducted in humans yet, but researchers hope to go in that direction. Browning hopes to include a clinical trial for the drug in patients considered at high risk of colorectal cancer, such as those with chronic intestinal inflammation like colitis, multiple previous polyps, or a strong family history of the disease. Viagra itself is typically safe and does not come with any significant adverse effects.

This is a significant finding that will allow researchers to conduct future studies and potentially reduce the number of people with colorectal cancer. 

References

1. Bella AJ, Lee JC, Carrier S, Benard F, Brock GB. 2015 CUA practice guidelines for erectile dysfunction. Can Urol Assoc J. 2015; 9(1-2):23-9. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.2699.

2. Medical College of Georgia - Augusta University. augusta.edu/mcg/. Accessed April 2, 108.



Shelby Leheny, Pharm D, B.S
Shelby Leheny received her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and her Bachelor's of Science degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a pharmacist at CVS.
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