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Moffitt cancer center Smoking +Chemo Trtmnts

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Nicotine can prevent chemotherapeutic drugs such as taxol from killing lung cancer cells, researchers at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute reported.

While nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it can influence biological pathways that help promote tumor growth, according to a release from Moffitt.

Researchers found that in a variety of lung cancer cell lines, the addition of a small amount of nicotine, what would be present in the blood of an average smoker, inhibited certain drugs' ability to kill the cancer cells.

"While this research is enlightening, the best thing is to stay away from nicotine in all forms and use behavioral smoking cessation therapies as a viable alternative," Srikumar Chellappan, associate professor of Moffitt's drug discovery program, said in the release.

Clinical studies have shown that cancer patients who continue to smoke during chemotherapy have lower response to treatment, and now these findings suggest that even people who quit smoking but use nicotine supplements such as patches or gum may not respond as well to drug treatment, the release said. Chellappan's findings will be publishing online this week in the journal

"Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." His research will be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

In 2001, the National Cancer Institute awarded Tampa-based Moffitt the status of a Comprehensive Cancer Center in recognition of its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control.


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