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Experimental Drug May Offer “Brilliant Hope” for Mesothelioma Treatment

9184657_Japanese Scientist

HUHS1015 is a newly-synthesized analogue (chemically similar compound) of the blood pressure drug naftopidil. In the U.S., naftopidil is sold under the brand name Flivas and is also used to treat certain prostate conditions and Raynaud’s disease. In 2014, another Japanese research team published their findings on the anticancer properties of naftopidil, which appears to increase the expression of certain microRNAs associated with programmed cell death (apoptosis).

In their new report on HUHS1015, scientists with the Hyogo College of Medicine and the Hyogo University of Health Sciences say the drug not only induced apoptosis in mesothelioma cells as well as naftopidil, but it also triggered necrosis, the premature death of cancer cells. According to author Tomoyuki Nishizaki and colleagues, HUHS1015 effectively suppressed tumor growth in mice inoculated with Stage IV mesothelioma cells, gastric cancer cells, or colon cancer cells.The underlying mechanism by which HUHS1015 kills these cells appears to differ from one cancer to the next.

In an earlier study of HUHS1015, the same researchers found that the drug successfully killed cells from four different types of mesothelioma. Dr. Nishizaki and his team have concluded that HUHS1015 is potentially a more effective mesothelioma treatment than several current anticancer drugs, including cisplatin, one of the most popular drugs for mesothelioma. In addition, HUHS1015 caused fewer side effects in the treated mice than either cisplatin or another drug called paclitaxel.

Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma, is an extremely aggressive and deadly cancer of the membrane (pleura) that surrounds the lungs. Despite recent treatment advances, it is not uncommon for mesothelioma patients to die within a year of diagnosis. Efforts are underway around the globe to develop more effective mesothelioma drugs.


Nishizaki, T, et al, “1-[2-(2-Methoxyphenylamino)ethylamino]-3-(naphthalene-1- yloxy)propan-2-ol May Be a Promising Anticancer Drug”, December 19, 2014, Molecules, pp. 462-472

Kaku, Yoshiko et al, “Newly synthesized anticancer drug HUHS1015 is effective on malignant pleural mesothelioma”, April 18, 2014, Cancer Science, pp. 883-889

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