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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Could Iron Reduction Reduce Mesothelioma Risks After Fiber Inhalation

Are therapies possible to reduce the mesothelioma cancer risk for persons who previously inhaled crocidolite asbestos fibers? An interesting new peer-reviewed paper from an AACR journal recounts the possibilities arising from using injections – in rats – to try to reduce iron concentrations. Reducing iron is considered possibly desirable because the higher iron content of amphiboles is sometimes cited as perhaps the source of a greater carcinogenic risk usually attributed to amphibole fibers. This work of course is very preliminary but offers an intriguing thought on the potential for alternatives to just waiting to see if cancer strikes.

The pertinent part of the abstract explains:

"We carried out a 16-week study to seek the maximal-tolerated intervention for iron reduction via oral deferasirox administration or intensive phlebotomy. Splenic iron deposition was significantly decreased with either method, and we found that Perls’ iron staining in spleen is a good indicator for iron reduction. We injected a total of 10 mg crocidolite at the age of six weeks, and the preventive measures were via repeated oral administration of 25 to 50 mg/kg/d deferasirox or weekly to bimonthly phlebotomy of 4 to 10 mL/kg/d. The animals were observed until 110 weeks. Deferasirox administration significantly increased the fraction of less malignant epithelioid subtype. Although we found a slightly prolonged survival in deferasirox-treated female rats, larger sample size and refinement of the current protocol are necessary to deduce the cancer-preventive effects of deferasirox. Still, our results suggest deferasirox serves as a potential preventive strategy in people already exposed to asbestos via iron reduction. Cancer Prev Res; 6(11); 1222–30. ©2013 AACR."

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