ARTHRITIS drugs available on the NHS help stop the spread of breast cancer, a study suggests.
They blocked secondary tumours fuelled by a bone marrow protein called interleukin 1-beta, researchers found.
In tests, just 14 per cent of mice treated with arthritis drug anakinra developed secondary tumours in the bone, compared with 42 per cent in a control group.
Other arthritis drugs canakinumab and sulfasalazine had similar effects, the Manchester University and Sheffield University researchers found.
Dr Rachel Eyre told journal Nature Communications: “We will now look to see if similar processes are also involved in breast cancer growing in organs such as the liver and lungs.”
The study was largely funded by charity Breast Cancer Now.
According to Breast Cancer Now, around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, making it the UK’s most common cancer.
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About 11,500 women die from the disease each year, almost all from tumours that have spread to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bones, brain, lungs or liver.
Breast cancer stem cells are thought to be responsible for the spread of the disease, with previous research suggesting healthy cells released certain molecules to help the cancer stem cells settle and grow in new locations.
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