MDACT: A New Principle of Adjunctive Cancer Treatment Using Combinations of Multiple Repurposed Drugs, with an Example Regimen

Richard E. Kast, Alex Alfieri, Hazem I. Assi, Terry C. Burns, Ashraf M. Elyamany, Maria Gonzalez-Cao, Georg Karpel-Massler, Christine Marosi, Michael E. Salacz, Iacopo Sardi, Pieter Van Vlierberghe, Mohamed S. Zaghloul, Marc Eric Halatsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In part one of this two-part paper, we present eight principles that we believe must be considered for more effective treatment of the currently incurable cancers. These are addressed by multidrug adjunctive cancer treatment (MDACT), which uses multiple repurposed non-oncology drugs, not primarily to kill malignant cells, but rather to reduce the malignant cells’ growth drives. Previous multidrug regimens have used MDACT principles, e.g., the CUSP9v3 glioblastoma treatment. MDACT is an amalgam of (1) the principle that to be effective in stopping a chain of events leading to an undesired outcome, one must break more than one link; (2) the principle of Palmer et al. of achieving fractional cancer cell killing via multiple drugs with independent mechanisms of action; (3) the principle of shaping versus decisive operations, both being required for successful cancer treatment; (4) an idea adapted from Chow et al., of using multiple cytotoxic medicines at low doses; (5) the idea behind CUSP9v3, using many non-oncology CNS-penetrant drugs from general medical practice, repurposed to block tumor survival paths; (6) the concept from chess that every move creates weaknesses and strengths; (7) the principle of mass—by adding force to a given effort, the chances of achieving the goal increase; and (8) the principle of blocking parallel signaling pathways. Part two gives an example MDACT regimen, gMDACT, which uses six repurposed drugs— celecoxib, dapsone, disulfiram, itraconazole, pyrimethamine, and telmisartan—to interfere with growth-driving elements common to cholangiocarcinoma, colon adenocarcinoma, glioblastoma, and non-small-cell lung cancer. gMDACT is another example of—not a replacement for—previous multidrug regimens already in clinical use, such as CUSP9v3. MDACT regimens are designed as adjuvants to be used with cytotoxic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2563
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • CUSP9v3
  • cholangiocarcinoma
  • colon cancer
  • glioblastoma
  • lung cancer
  • multidrug regimen
  • repurposing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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