1. Health

Nicotine Gum/Patches May Weaken Chemotherapy Drugs


Updated June 26, 2008

Updated June 26, 2008
When many people are diagnosed with lung cancer, they are advised to immediately quit smoking if they are smokers. For many, the diagnosis alone is enough to make them quit. For others, quitting smoking is an uphill battle that may seem endless. These lung cancer patients may turn to nicotine patches and gums to help kick the habit. Seems like a good idea, right? New research says maybe not.

A study done by researchers at the University of South Florida determined that nicotine protects cancer cells against chemotherapy drugs. In simple terms, nicotine protects cancer cells from dying. It blocks the chemotherapy from working.

The researchers studied the nicotine effect on human non-small cell lung cancer and three different types of chemotherapy drugs: gemcitabine, cisplatin and taxol. These chemotherapy drugs are commonly used in treating cancer. Indeed, the nicotine prevented apoptosis, the scientific term for cellular death.

What Does This Mean for Lung Cancer Patients?

Talk to your oncologist about the use of smoking cessation aids. Many doctors feel that behavioral smoking cessation methods are far better in the long run. Still, there may be some physicians who will insist on avoiding nicotine. Each case of lung cancer differs. Talking to your doctor about any concerns is essential. Quitting smoking is an absolute necessity for all smokers, not just lung cancer patients. Need help quitting? Check out About Smoking Cessation, where you'll support and all the information you need to kick the habit.

Lung Cancer Resources:

Lung Cancer 101
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Lung Cancer
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Cancer
  4. Treatment of Cancer
  5. Chemotherapy
  6. Nicotine Gums/Patches May Stop Chemotherapy from Working

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.