Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Abortion Pill Compound Prevents Breast Tumor Growth

Date:
December 1, 2006
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
The chemical compound for the abortion pill has been found to prevent the growth of mammary tumors caused by the mutant gene responsible for a majority of breast and ovarian cancers, according to UC Irvine scientists.

The chemical compound for the abortion pill has been found to prevent the growth of mammary tumors caused by the mutant gene responsible for a majority of breast and ovarian cancers, according to UC Irvine scientists.

This compound, called mifepristone, prevented breast tumors by inhibiting progesterone, a hormone involved with the female reproductive cycle, in breast tissue cells. The discovery points to new prevention methods for women who have a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancers. Currently, these women often have their breasts or ovaries surgically removed to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

The study appears in the Dec. 1 issue of Science.

"We found that progesterone plays a role in the development of breast cancer by encouraging the proliferation of mammary cells that carry a breast cancer gene," said Eva Lee, lead author of the study and professor of developmental and cell biology and biological chemistry at UCI. "Mifepristone can block that response. We're excited about this discovery and hope it leads to new options for women with a high risk for developing breast cancer."

In the study, Lee and her colleagues addressed how mifepristone affects the function of mutated BRCA-1 genes in tissue. BRCA-1 is widely studied by cancer geneticists because a mutated version of this gene significantly raises the possibility of breast and ovarian cancers. By age 70, more than 50 percent of women with the mutated BRCA-1 gene develop breast or ovarian cancer.

The researchers studied mice that carried the mutated BRCA-1 gene. Mice treated with mifepristone, an anti-progesterone compound, did not develop mammary tumors by the time they reached one year of age. All of the untreated mice, however, developed tumors by eight months of age.

Progesterone, secreted by the ovaries, is essential to the maintenance of a pregnancy. Mifepristone, also called RU486, is designed to abort pregnancy in the first trimester by blocking progesterone, thereby ending the viability of the fetus. In smaller doses, it is used as an emergency contraceptive.

UCI researchers found that progesterone encourages the development of cancer when the mutated BRCA-1 is present because it speeds up the division of cells. Mifepristone was found to block a binding process that is necessary for progesterone to cause the cell division.

Previous studies conducted by other researchers linked high progesterone levels with an increase in breast cancer risk, particularly in menopausal women who underwent hormone-replacement therapy that included progesterone and estrogen to ease symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. That research, combined with the recent findings, lead scientists to believe that anti-progesterone could, in the future, provide women at risk for breast cancer with more prevention options.

This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Department of Defense.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Abortion Pill Compound Prevents Breast Tumor Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061130191559.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2006, December 1). Abortion Pill Compound Prevents Breast Tumor Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061130191559.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Abortion Pill Compound Prevents Breast Tumor Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061130191559.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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