Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports

Date:
October 22, 2010
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Estrogen therapy used by menopausal women causes a type of ovarian cancer to grow five times faster, according to a new study. The effect of ERT was shown in mouse models of estrogen receptor positive(ER+) ovarian cancer, which accounts for about 60 percent of all human ovarian cancer cases.

Estrogen therapy used by menopausal women causes a type of ovarian cancer to grow five times faster, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Menopausal estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) also significantly increases the likelihood of the cancer metastasizing to the lymph nodes, according to the study, which will be published in the Nov. 1 issue of Cancer Research. The study was released online Oct. 19, 2010. Cancer Research, published by the American Association for Cancer Research, is the world's largest circulation medical journal devoted specifically to cancer research.

The effect of ERT was shown in mouse models of estrogen receptor positive(ER+) ovarian cancer, which accounts for about 60 percent of all human ovarian cancer cases. Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancers affecting women. This year alone, nearly 22,000 women will be newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer and an estimated 13,850 women will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"We showed that estrogen replacement substantially increases proliferation and risk of distant lymph node metastasis in ER+ tumors," says Monique Spillman, MD, PhD, the study's lead researcher, a gynecologic oncologist at University of Colorado Hospital and assistant professor at of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

For the first time, Spillman and her team measured ovarian cancer growth in the abdomen of mice using novel techniques for visualizing the cancer. In mice with ER+ ovarian cancer cells, which were tagged with a firefly-like fluorescent protein that allowed them to be tracked, the introduction of estrogen therapy made the tumors grow five times faster than in mice that did not receive the ERT. The risk of the cancer moving to the lymph nodes increased to 26 percent in these mice compared with 6 percent in mice that did not receive ERT.

The team also found that the estrogen-regulated genes in ovarian cancer reacted differently than ER+ genes found in breast cancer, helping to explain why current anti-estrogen therapies used with breast cancer, such as Tamoxifen, are largely ineffective against ovarian cancer.

"Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are often linked when talking about hormone replacement therapy, but we found that only 10 percent of the ER+ genes overlapped," Spillman says. "We were able to identify estrogen-regulated genes specific to ER+ ovarian cancer that are not shared with ER+ breast cancers. We believe these genes can be specifically targeted with new anti-estrogen therapies that could more effectively treat ER+ ovarian cancers."

Spillman and her team now will begin to screen current antiestrogen therapies against the newly identified ovarian cancer genes to identify the pathways and compounds that are more likely to effectively treat ER+ ovarian cancer.

This study looked at the effect of estrogen replacement therapy in mice that already possessed ER+ ovarian cancer cells. It did not test whether the estrogen replacement actually could cause the development of these cancer cells. The study also dealt only with estrogen replacement, which is linked to higher risks of ovarian cancer, not combined estrogen/progesterone therapy that is used with women who retain their uteruses.

This research is too early to draw implications for use of estrogen replacement therapy in women, Spillman cautions. "We cannot make clinical recommendations based on what is happening in mice," says Spillman, one of just eight gynecological oncologists in Colorado. "Every woman is different and needs to talk to her doctor about the decision to use hormone replacement therapy."

The study was funded by a Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Career Development Award and the Liz Tilberis Scholars Award from the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. This competitive award, a $450,000 three-year grant, is given to early-career researchers who are developing techniques for early diagnosis and improved care for women with ovarian cancer.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. A. Spillman, N. G. Manning, W. W. Dye, C. A. Sartorius, M. D. Post, J. C. Harrell, B. M. Jacobsen, K. B. Horwitz. Tissue-Specific Pathways for Estrogen Regulation of Ovarian Cancer Growth and Metastasis. Cancer Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1238

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020152028.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2010, October 22). Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020152028.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020152028.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
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