Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Estrogen reduces breast cancer stem cells and aggression in breast cancer, study suggests

Date:
February 15, 2011
Source:
Basque Research
Summary:
Estrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Their work shows that estrogen is capable of reducing the number of breast cancer stem cells, which may explain the lower aggression of the tumor and, as a consequence, the possibility of a better prognosis.

Ms Vivanco believes that this study presents a new functional aspect of estrogen.
Credit: Image courtesy of Basque Research

A team of researchers at CIC bioGUNE has revealed that estrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Their work shows that estrogen is capable of reducing the number of breast cancer stem cells, which may explain the lower aggression of the tumor and, as a consequence, the possibility of a better prognosis.

The project was published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and the team will present the results at the International Conference on Breast Cancer to be held in Madrid. The research combined the use of human samples and laboratory cell lines.

The identification of cancer stem cells (or tumor-initiating cells) has opened up a new perspective on breast cancer, with new hopes for treatment in the future. To date treatment against cancer was designed to reduce the mass of the tumour. Nevertheless, what has recently been discovered is that, while traditional treatment is capable of killing most of the cell mass of the tumor, the cancer stem cells are more resistant to common treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. Thus, in order to cure the cancer with greater efficacy and definitively, it is important to find ways to eliminate cancer stem cells as well.

Estrogen is a hormone which is not without its complexity; on the one hand it is essential for the normal development and functioning of the breast and, on the other, this same hormone induces the proliferation of cancer cells once the breast tumor has appeared, i.e. estrogen is also a risk factor in breast cancer. However, nothing or little has been known until now about the effect of estrogen on the tumor-initiating cells.

Over recent years highly important steps in the fight against breast cancer have been taken, notable enhancing its diagnosis, prognosis and possible treatment, giving rise to a very considerable increase in the survival rates of patients. It had also been proposed that the number of cancerous stem cells is correlated with the aggressiveness of the tumor: The greater the percentage of breast cancer stem cells, the greater the aggressiveness and the worse, thereby, its prognosis.

"To our surprise, what we have seen is that estrogen reduces the proportion of breast stem cells which means a mechanism for explaining this better prognosis observed with tumors that express the estrogen receptor. That is, those tumors expressing the estrogen receptor are less aggressive, better differentiated and thus have a better prognosis," explained Marํa Vivanco, leader of the research team.

Ms Vivanco believes that this study presents a new functional aspect of estrogen, due to its capacity for acting in a different way depending on cellular type.

In the opinion of the CIC bioGUNE researcher, this study "has set out the molecular bases for understanding the direct effect of estrogen on the proportion of stem cells, whether in healthy or cancerous tissue and the fact that the estrogen receptor is an excellent prognostic marker." Moreover, this means there is an explanation for a number of clinical observations, for example: the high levels of estrogen in the blood of postmenopausal patients being associated with less aggressive tumors; the fact that little-differentiated tumors contain more cancerous stem cells, in turn associated with the degree of the tumor, the absence of the estrogen receptor and low survival rate; and the observed benefit of lactation attributed to a greater differentiation in the breast.

The researchers consider that the new study represents a highly important step, opening new doors to developing tools for the prevention of breast cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Basque Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bruno M. Sim๕es, Marco Piva, Oihana Iriondo, Valentine Comaills, Jose A. L๓pez-Ruiz, I๑aki Zabalza, Jon A. Mieza, Olga Acinas, Maria d.M. Vivanco. Effects of estrogen on the proportion of stem cells in the breast. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2010; DOI: 10.1007/s10549-010-1169-4

Cite This Page:

Basque Research. "Estrogen reduces breast cancer stem cells and aggression in breast cancer, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214083811.htm>.
Basque Research. (2011, February 15). Estrogen reduces breast cancer stem cells and aggression in breast cancer, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214083811.htm
Basque Research. "Estrogen reduces breast cancer stem cells and aggression in breast cancer, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214083811.htm (accessed April 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) — Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. 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