Viagra and Cancer: Can the ED Drug Prevent Prostate Cancer?


We all know Viagra as a wonder drug for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. But recent studies show that the drug may be far more valuable than we expect, with the potential to fight different cancers in various ways.

If recent studies can be confirmed by human trials, Viagra (sildenafil) may be the first line of defense against melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer. It may be used, not only to improve the sex lives of men who have had surgery for prostate cancer, but to prevent prostate cancer, as well. And it may even be given with anti-cancer drugs to make these more effective and to ease their serious side effects.

All these are findings of several studies, done independently and published in different scientific journals over recent years.

Viagra may help cure melanoma
One of these studies offers hope to around 132,000 people worldwide who suffer from melanoma, many of them young and in their productive years.

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin cancer. One American dies of this disease every hour, and it is also among the more common forms of cancer in young adults, from 15 to 29 years old.







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The study, conducted by Dr. Viktor Umansky and his team at the University Medical Center Mannheim, Germany, showed that mice with melanoma improved when given Viagra over a seven-week period.

Because melanoma in people progresses in the same way as it does in mice, the study shows the potential of using Viagra to treat melanoma patients—but only after years of clinical trials on patients.

What Dr. Umansky’s research did was to suppress the chronic inflammatory immune response in mice successfully. This response occurs in both animals and people who have cancerous tumors and it is what prevents the patient’s immune system from fighting the disease.

In a healthy animal or person infected by a disease, body’s immune system responds by sending T cells to attack the infecting agent. When a cancerous tumor develops, the body’s immune system still does that, but the tumor itself causes a chronic inflammatory immune response and this inflammation suppresses the body’s immune response. Instead of seeking and destroying the tumor, T cells that enter the tumor’s environment stop reproducing and lose their potency.

For Dr. Umansky’s team, the challenge then was to develop a drug therapy to reduce the tumor’s chronic inflammatory response, in order to allow the T cells to work at full power and to do their job.

Dr. Umansky’s study showed that Viagra somehow neutralizes the tumor’s inflammatory immune response—at least in mice.

The researchers placed Viagra in the drinking water given to a group of mice with melanoma, while another group was left untreated.

At the end of the seven-week study period, twice as many mice treated with the drug were still alive as compared to the untreated group. T cell counts in the treated mice had also returned to normal, indicating that they weren’t being suppressed by the tumor’s inflammatory response. Molecules within the T cells that are typically deactivated by the tumor’s immune response had also returned to normal.

Viagra to prevent prostate cancer?
Another study showed that Viagra does not only treat the erectile dysfunction that results from prostate cancer surgery, but can prevent the cancer, as well.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. About 680,000 men are diagnosed every year with a prostate tumor and 220,000 die as a result of prostate tumors.