Use of Capsazepine and Analogs for Treatment of Cancer

Tech ID:

A UT Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA) scientist has discovered that local intra-tumoral injection of Capsazepine offers an effective treatment to reduce tumor cell proliferation in solid tumors.  Capsazepine is a known, off-patent, analog of Capsaicin that has been proposed and studied as a TRPV1 antagonist for treatment of pain. 



While studying the role of tumor-secreted factors in pain associated with oral cancer, the UTHSCSA scientist discovered that Capsazepine is effective in reducing tumor growth in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) models.  Additional studies have demonstrated anti-tumor activity in breast cancer and prostate cancer cell lines and mouse xenograft models.


Capsazepine and analogs have been studied as drug candidates for treatment of pain.  Clinical studies for pain management have utilized intravenous formulations for administration.  Clinical trials were discontinued due to hyperthermia associated with intravenous administration and systemic TRPV1 antagonist activity.  Although Capsazepine has been proposed for alleviation of pain, previous studies have not identified Capsazepine as an effective anti-tumor agent. 


The discovery that Capsazepine is effective for treatment of solid tumors that can be directly accessed and treated by local injection offers the potential for development of a therapeutic for treatment of OSCC, breast carcinomas, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancers, and other solid tumors accessible and subject to local injection.  Furthermore, the compound may provide effective alleviation of pain associated with these tumors.


Use of Capsazepine by local injection into solid tumors offers additional advantages.  Oral cancers and head and neck cancers are frequently inoperable because they invade or are approximated upon critical structures in the head and neck.  Injection of Capsazepine into these tumors may result in reduction of tumor volume and can prevent tumor invasion of nerve bundles and critical structures such as the carotid artery ? often fatal complications of oral cancer.  Use of Capsazepine in this way may render an inoperable tumor suitable for surgical intervention.  Additional applications include palliative use for patients who are receiving end-of-life care.


Benefits and Advantages:

·       Novel anti-cancer use for a known, off-patent compound originally directed to pain indications

·       Demonstrated activity in OSCC, as well as breast and prostate cancer cell lines and xenograft models

·       OSCC is the 8th most common cancer in the U.S.; 60% of patients have invasive Stage III or IV disease upon diagnosis, with overall 5-year survival as low as 34%

·       Local injection into solid tumors reduces potential for side effects associated with systemic administration

·       Capsazepine offers tumor reduction and alleviation of pain

·       May offer potential to render inoperable OSCC and head & neck cancers operable


IP Status:                     U.S. Application No. 14/649,272

                                     Notice of Allowance Received 09/08/2016

                                     Allowed claims available upon request

                                     Available for exclusive licensing; collaboration; development

Patent Information:
For information contact:
John Fritz
Sr. Business Development Manager
Office of Technology Commercialization
Cara Gonzales