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Viagra May Shrink Colon Tumors

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Updated: December 5, 2006

Viagra picture by weirdvis (stock.xchng)

If someone mentions Viagra pills, I think of something growing, not shrinking. But research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine identified another potential use for Viagra pills: colon cancer treatment.

In the study, Viagra (sildenafil citrate) reduced the growth of colon tumors in mice by 50 to 70 percent. It did so by boosting the body's immune system and enhancing its ability to find and contain the tumors.

Good news, right? Absolutely, but it's important to note that it's way too early to decide that Viagra will shrink the size of colon tumors in humans. The dose the mice received would be equivalent to about 30 times the recommended dose used for erectile dysfunction. Ingesting that many Viagra pills would be toxic to humans.

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Source: Serafini, P. and Meckel, K. "Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibition Augments Endogenous Antitumor Immunity by Reducing Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Function." Journal of Experimental Medicine 203.12 (13 Nov. 2006): 2691-2702. 5 Dec. 2006.

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