May #23 : AZT Linked to Cancer in Mice - by Walter Armstrong and Ronnilyn Pustil

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Table of Contents

Plastic Explosion

Who's Afraid of Reinfection?

Don't Call Him 'Poster Boy'

Saving Faces

Grandmother Theresa

Surgical Rotations

Fate Expectations

Mirror Image


Mailbox-May 1997

On Native Ground

Move Over, Elmo

Devil's in the Data

Cheesehead Shalala

Don't Cry for Me, Marijuana

The Pot Thickens

Fellatio Felon

Diver Dissed

French Roast

AZT Linked to Cancer in Mice

The Philadelphia Story

Fashion Victims

Say What

Legacy-Tom Stoddard

Skin Deep


She's Going to Live!


A Delicate Bully Pulpit

La Dolce Morte

A Delicate Bully Pulpit

Damned but Beautiful

Dressed for Arrest

POZ Picks-May 1997

Hymn to a Gym

Bodies of Work

Healing Beauty

Longtime Companion

For Doom, the Bell Tolls

Whatta Cut Up

Health Club Horrors


Protein Power

The Missing Zinc

Bad Blood

Lovely Labs

The Biology of Beauty

It's My Party


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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May 1997

AZT Linked to Cancer in Mice

by Walter Armstrong and Ronnilyn Pustil

But experts pooh-pooh panicked moms

"No smoking, no drinking," docs warn pregnant women. So why are they urged to down AZT, a drug suspected of causing cancer? The NIH held a fast and dirty meeting in January at which a panel of AIDS and cancer researchers reviewed some fearful findings from the National Cancer Institute: High-dose AZT, which greatly reduces the chance of mother-to-infant HIV transmission, grew tumors in the offspring of mice during the last trimester of pregnancy. Should women keep taking the drug? "Absolutely," said Dr. Jack Killen, director of the AIDS division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "It's very clear the benefit of AZT [preventing perinatal transmission] far outweighs the hypothetical risk."

But the HIV Law Project's Theresa McGovern, who attended the NIH meeting, said, "It opened with a prefab statement: 'We're not going to change the recommendations.'  So the panel was gratuitous. Also, Glaxo Wellcome had more time to present data than the NCI. It's obscene they're not informing women of this cancer link." No studies are under way of any drug but AZT for the prevention of mother-to-infant transmission.

No tumors have been found in three-year follow-up studies of kids exposed to AZT in utero. In a similar study by AZT-maker Glaxo Wellcome, no increase in the incidence of tumors was seen in mice.

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