Chemotherapy May Be Compromised By Nicotine

Although many people find nicotine supplements (gum and patch) to be helpful in their efforts to quit smoking, the aids may be problematic for those undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer.

It seems that nicotine, while not believed to be a carcinogen, protects cancer cells from being killed off in a cell-suicide process known as apoptosis.

Three of the most widely used chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer are gemcitabine, cisplatin, and taxol.  Nicotine, however, stimulates the cancer cells to produce a pair of proteins that, in turn, protect the cells from apoptosis.

The finding is consistent with previous clinical studies tat recorded lower survival rates in cancer patients who continue to smoke during chemotherapy and would seem to support the notion that nicotine in any form should be discouraged during cancer therapy

The research will be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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