Transforming Cancer Treatment: The Power of Dipyridamole

Unearthing the potential of existing drugs for new medical applications is a testament to human ingenuity. Dipyridamole (DIP), widely used for ischemic disorders, is gaining traction in the field of cancer treatment. With compelling research evidence pointing towards its profound anti-cancer properties, DIP may prove to be a game-changer in oncology.

Historically, Dipyridamole, an anti-platelet drug, has been employed to manage ischemic conditions, preventing thrombus formation through temporary vasodilation. The safety profile of DIP is established, with its long-term use revealing minimal side effects. Yet, its potential in cancer therapy is only beginning to come to light.

The formidable properties of Dipyridamole in the fight against cancer extend from tumor reduction to the enhancement of chemotherapy treatments. It has shown promise against diverse cancer types including melanoma, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), bone metastases, and colorectal cancer. The drug also offers significant benefits in curbing cancer progression, metastasis, inflammation, while simultaneously augmenting the immune response.

A key advantage of Dipyridamole lies in its ability to increase the concentration of specific anticancer drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), methotrexate, piperidine, and vincristine in cancer cells, thereby amplifying their potency. The exact mechanism remains somewhat nebulous, however, a study by the University of Changchun in 2016 identified two protein targets, one being a human checkpoint inhibitor.

Historically, the connection between Dipyridamole, platelets, and cancer has been observed. An intriguing study from 1985, where Stage III and Stage IV melanoma patients were treated with 300 mg of Dipyridamole, reported a dramatic increase in five-year survival rates (The Lancet, March 23rd, 1985). The research suggested that Dipyridamole impeded the migration of cells from the primary tumor into the bloodstream, thereby reducing metastasis and mortality.

The inhibition of platelet adhesion, one of Dipyridamole's key functions, is instrumental in the fight against cancer. Cancer cells harness platelets to enter the bloodstream, elude the immune system, foster new blood supplies, and migrate to distant tissues. By inhibiting these actions, Dipyridamole poses a significant impediment to cancer proliferation.

In colorectal cancer, Dipyridamole has demonstrated its capacity to enhance the effectiveness of drugs like Adriamycin and 5-FU following surgery, as evidenced by research from Kyushu University Medical School in 1991 (3). In the realm of breast cancer, especially TNBC, Dipyridamole has shown noteworthy efficacy in reducing primary tumor growth, metastasis, and disease progression (2). The impact was so profound that high doses led to an almost total reduction in primary tumors, according to Dr. Daniella Spano's study in 2013.

Adding another layer to Dipyridamole's multifaceted abilities, the simultaneous use of anti-histamines such as Tagamet (cimetidine) has shown to boost its effectiveness (7, 8). 

Histamines, known to stimulate cancer cell growth and assist in platelet adhesion, can be inhibited by such combinations.

While Dipyridamole is listed in the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology Database and already prescribed at a dose of 300 mg per day for heart attack prevention, research to identify the optimal dosage for cancer treatment is ongoing. Moreover, the exploration of Dipyridamole's potential against other conditions like advanced pancreatic cancer and Herpes Simplex infection is underway.

In conclusion, Dipyridamole's voyage from being a heart drug to potentially a powerful weapon against cancer is fascinating. It shows promise in revolutionizing cancer treatment protocols, enhancing survival rates, and improving patient quality of life. The road is long and complex, but the potential of Dipyridamole in cancer treatment offers a beacon of hope.


  1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. link.springer.com
  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532630/
  6. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  7. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  8. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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