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Nitroxoline: A Possible New Cancer Treatment

by Debbie “The Rat Lady” Ducommun


This article first appeared in the Rat-a-tat Chat, the newsletter of the non-profit organization Rat Assistance & Teaching Society.

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            Nitroxoline is an antibiotic that has been used to treat urinary infections in Europe for about fifty years. It works by blocking the ability of bacteria to replicate. In 2010 researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine discovered that it also can help to slow the growth of tumors by blocking the formation of new blood vessels that the tumors need to grow. Giving nitroxoline to mice with either mammary cancer or bladder cancer found that the tumors shrank by 50 to 60%. The dose that was given to the mice was 13.6 mg/lb once a day.

            In 2011, researchers in Slovenia also found that nitroxoline might also help prevent cancers from metastasizing because it inhibits an enzyme that breaks down the outer membrane of tumors, allowing the cells to float free.

            Apparently, this antibiotic is not available in the U.S., but in doing a search for information about nitroxoline online, I found it listed for sale on from a vendor that sells items from Russia! So, if your rat has cancer, you might consider trying this treatment.



Antibiotic Slows Growth of Bladder, Breast Cancer Cells, JAMA, 2004 Feb 18;291(7):827-35.

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010 December 15; 102(24): 1855–1873.

For breast cancer, mice were injected with 60-mg/kg nitroxoline in vehicle, intraperitoneally, every other day for 30 days.

For bladder cancer mice were given nitroxoline in vehicle (30 mg/kg/day, n = 6) by oral administration daily for 2 weeks.


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