Anti-Inflammatory Agents Improve Outcomes and QOL in Cancer Patients

New research studies show that anti-inflammatory agents can improve survival as well as quality of life in cancer patients.

Two research results published in 2 different journals provide a common thread: anti-inflammatory agents can improve survival as well as quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients.

Scientists at the University of new Mexico observed a significant survival benefit in women with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who had been administered perioperative ketorolac (an anti-inflammatory drug). Previous in vitro studies by the research group had identified inhibition of cytoskeletal remodeling by ketorolac via targeting of Rac1 and Cdc42, 2 Rho family GTPases.

In their current study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, they investigated the effect of administration of racemic (R, S) ketorolac after ovarian cancer on patient outcomes. The levels of the 2 ketorolac enantiomers were measured in the peritoneal fluid and in the serum and GTPase activity was measured in peritoneal cells. Additionally, retrospective analysis of women who had undergone ovarian cancer surgery between 2004 and 2006 examined the correlation between perioperative ketorolac and ovarian cancer-specific survival. The outcome? Women given perioperative ketorolac had a lower hazard of death (Hazard Ratio = 0.30 [95% CI, 0.11-0.88]) at 5 years, indicating improved survival benefit with the anti-inflammatory agent.

Results from a trial, published in the Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition, found that complementing gemcitabine treatment with w-3 fatty acids improved treatment response and QOL in pancreatic cancer patients. Fifty patients with advanced pancreatic cancer were administered gemcitabine (1000 mg/m3) weekly, followed by up to 100 g of an w-3 rich emulsion for 3 weeks, followed by a rest week—for 6 cycles, progression, unacceptable toxicity, patient request, or death. Primary outcomes of this trial was objective response rate while secondary outcomes measured were overall survival, progression free survival, QOL, and adverse events. The study found evidence of activity in response and disease stabilization rates, reduction in liver metastasis volume, and improved quality of life scores in patients administered w-3 fatty acids. More than 50% of patients had >10% increase in QOL scores.

Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily sourced from marine organisms, have long been recognized as anti-inflammatory agents and have been shown to lower inflammation associated with chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. The new studies add credibility to the use of these natural products as to improve cancer outcomes.