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Estrogen reduces aggression in breast cancer
Date:2/14/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

A team of researchers at CIC bioGUNE has revealed that oestrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Their work shows that oestrogen is capable of reducing the number of breast cancer stem cells, which may explain the lower aggression of the tumour 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 under the auspices of 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 tumour-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 tumour, 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.

Oestrogen 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 tumour has appeared, i.e. oestrogen is also a risk factor in breast cancer. However, nothing or little has been known until now about the effect of oestrogen on the tumour-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
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Contact: Oihane Lakar
o.lakar@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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