Two drugs that are used for breast and lung cancer could be combined to overcome tumour resistance in several types of the disease, new research suggests.
A study found that breast-cancer medication palbociclib was boosted when combined with the lung-cancer treatment crizotinib.
When tested on both cancer cells in the laboratory and mice with a range of malignant tumours, the duo was significantly more effective than the individual drugs.
The combined treatment both blocked cell division and induced senescence, which occurs when a cell loses its 'power' to divide and grow.
While palbociclib has been described as one of the biggest treatment advances for advanced breast cancer in the past two decades, some tumours develop resistance to it.
This is often driven by a protein that crizotinib targets, with the two drugs together helping to overcome cancer cell resistance.
Two drugs that are used for breast and lung cancer could be combined to overcome tumour resistance in numerous forms of the disease, research suggests (stock)
The research was carried out by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London and University College London's (UCL) Cancer Institute.
It was co-led by Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of the ICR and Dr Sibylle Mittnacht, professor of molecular cancer biology at UCL.
Professor Mittnacht said: 'Our evidence shows that existing medicines could be used to overcome resistance to treatment in a frequent form of breast cancer in women.
'In addition, use of a current breast cancer medicine together with these other medicines could be a new, promising route for the treatment of lung and several other cancers.'
Professor Workman added: 'Cancer's ability to adapt, evolve and become drug resistant is the biggest challenge we face in creating more effective treatments for the disease.
'We have shown the potential of combining two precision medicines for breast and lung cancer together to create a two-pronged attack that strips cancer cells of their resistance.'
Breast cancer affects one in eight women at some point in their lives in the UK and US, statistics show.
When it comes to lung cancer, 47,235 cases were diagnosed between 2014 and 2016 in the UK, Cancer Research UK statistics show.
And in the US, around 234,000 people were told they had lung cancer last year, according to the American Lung Association.
Palbociclib is used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. These tumours come about as a direct result of the many hormone receptors on the surface of breast cells.
In the case of oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the cancerous cells receive growth signals from the hormone.
Around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year. One in eight women develop the disease during their lifetime.
The illness can cause a number of