Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an aggressive pulmonary disease which shares
several molecular, pathophysiological and clinical aspects with lung cancer, including high mortality
rates. The antifibrotic drugs Nintedanib and Pirfenidone have recently been introduced in clinical
practice for the treatment of IPF. Nintedanib is also used for the treatment of several malignancies,
including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in combination with Docetaxel, while Pirfenidone
showed some anti-neoplastic effects in preclinical studies. On the other hand, novel targeted
agents and immunotherapies have been introduced in the last decade for the treatment of NSCLC,
and some of them showed anti-fibrotic properties in recent studies. These evidences, based on the
common pathophysiological backgrounds of IPF and lung cancer, make possible the mutual or
combined use of anti-fibrotic and anti-neoplastic drugs to treat these highly lethal diseases. The
aim of the present review is to depict the current scientific landscape regarding the repurposing of
anti-neoplastic drugs in IPF and anti-fibrotic drugs in lung cancer, and to identify future research
perspectives on the topic.
Keywords: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, fibrosis, cancer, lung cancer, antifibrotic drug, anticancer drugs, drug
repurposing, nintedanib, pirfenidone.
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