Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preclinical Study Shows Chronic Stress Agitates Ovarian Cancer; Reducing Stress Slows Tumor Growth

Date:
July 24, 2006
Source:
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Summary:
When mice with ovarian cancer are stressed, their tumors grow and spread more quickly, but that effect can be blocked using a medication commonly prescribed for heart disease, according to a preclinical study by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

When mice with ovarian cancer are stressed, their tumors grow and spread more quickly, but that effect can be blocked using a medication commonly prescribed for heart disease, according to a preclinical study by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Related Articles


The finding, published in the journal Nature Medicine, now available on-line, provides the first measurable link between psychological stress and the biological processes that make ovarian tumors grow and spread. Specifically, the researchers showed that stress hormones bind to receptors directly on tumor cells and, in turn, stimulate new blood vessel growth and other factors that lead to faster and more aggressive tumors.

"This study provides a new understanding of how chronic stress and stress factors drive tumor growth," says Anil Sood, M.D., associate professor of gynecologic oncology and cancer biology and director of ovarian cancer research.

In fact, when the researchers blocked the stress hormone receptors in their experimental system using a heart disease drug called propranolol, also known as a "beta blocker," they were able to stop the negative effects of stress on tumor growth. The researchers used the beta blocker because the same hormone receptors, called beta adrenergic receptors, are found in the heart and normally work to maintain blood flow.

"The concept of stress hormone receptors directly driving cancer growth is very new," says Sood, the study's senior author. "Not much had been known about how often these receptors are expressed in cancer, and more importantly, whether they had any functional significance. Our research opens a new area of investigation."

The research began when Sood and his colleague Susan Lutgendorf found an association between ovarian cancer patients who reported high levels of stress in their lives and an increase in a factor that stimulates blood vessel growth in tumors. By contrast, patients who had more social support in their lives had lower levels of this factor. Sood wondered if hormones associated with chronic stress might affect how cancers grow.

Sood's research team, led by investigators Premal Thaker, M.D., Liz Han, M.D., and Aparna Kamat, M.D., in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, developed a mouse model of ovarian cancer to study the link. In their experiments, the researchers confined the mice in a small space for zero, two or six hours during the day.

The confinement caused the mice to produce the same stress hormones as humans produce when they are under stress. These beta adrenergic hormones are sometimes called the "fight-or-flight" hormones because they are released when people are fearful or threatened, and are also responsible for causing the heart to beat harder and faster.

Sood and his colleagues found that, surprisingly, cancer cells make receptors for these hormones on their surface and that when these receptors are activated they set in motion a chain of events that leads to formation of new blood vessels that feed tumors, a process called angiogenesis. New blood vessel formation is known to allow tumors to grow and spread more rapidly.

"We were quite surprised to find these beta adrenergic receptors on ovarian cancer cells," says Sood. "In fact, we found them in 17 of 19 ovarian cancer cell lines we tested."

After three weeks, the researchers measured the number and size of tumors in the mice. The number of tumors was 2.5 times greater in the mice that had been in the 2-hour stress group and 3.6 times greater in the 6-hour stress group compared to the mice with no stress. In addition, tumor growth was confined in the no-stress mice, but had spread to the liver or spleen in half of the stressed mice.

In additional experiments, the researchers gave the stressed mice propranolol, which blocked the effect of stress hormones. The medication completely neutralized the effect of stress on tumor growth," says Sood.

"Beta blockers have been shown to be protective against cardiac disease," he says. "No one has studied their effect on chronic stress as it relates to cancer in humans. There is a lot of interest now in this area of combining behavioral interventions to reduce stress, as well as using beta blockers in cancer patients."

In follow-up studies, Sood and his team are in the process of further refining the role of stress in cancer using animal models and examining the hormone receptor status of cancers besides ovarian cancer.

Other members of the research team included Chunhua Lu, M.D., Nicholas Jennings, Guillermo Armaiz-Pena, James Bankson, Ph.D., Murali Ravoori, Ph.D., William Merritt, M.D., Yvonne Lin, M.D., Selanere Mangala, Ph.D., Tae Jin Kim, M.D., Robert Coleman, M.D., Charles Landen, M.D., Yang Li, Edward Felix, Robert Newman, Ph.D. Mary Lloyd, David Gershenson, M.D., Vikas Kundra, M.D., Ph.D., Gabriel Lopez-Bernstein, M.D., of M. D. Anderson, and Steven Cole, Ph.D., Jesusa Arevalo, Rie Takahashi, of UCLA, and Susan Lutgendorf of the University of Iowa. The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the M. D. Anderson Ovarian Cancer SPORE, a Program Project Development Grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Inc., and a Donna Marie Cimitile-Fotheringham Award for Ovarian Cancer Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Preclinical Study Shows Chronic Stress Agitates Ovarian Cancer; Reducing Stress Slows Tumor Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060724155652.htm>.
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. (2006, July 24). Preclinical Study Shows Chronic Stress Agitates Ovarian Cancer; Reducing Stress Slows Tumor Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060724155652.htm
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Preclinical Study Shows Chronic Stress Agitates Ovarian Cancer; Reducing Stress Slows Tumor Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060724155652.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins