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Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports
Date:10/20/2010

Aurora, Colo. (Oct. 19, 2010) 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 t
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Contact: Lynn Clark
lynn.clark@ucdenver.edu
303-724-3160
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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