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Hormones after breast cancer: Not fuel for the fire after all?
Date:7/23/2014

A new study supports a growing body of research suggesting a safe and effective role for natural steroid hormones in treating postmenopausal breast cancer, with fewer detrimental side effects and improved health profile than with standard anti-hormone therapies. The study will be published in final format today in the open-access journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are diagnosed in postmenopausal women. Major clinical trials and experimental studies showed that a class of anti-estrogen drugs called aromatase inhibitors (AIs) is effective against postmenopausal breast cancer. Yet despite their effectiveness in reducing tumor recurrence, aromatase inhibitors have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increase osteoporosis and bone fractures, which may explain their lack of overall survival improvement versus the older treatment, tamoxifen. These effects, together with undesirable side effects such as incontinence and bone and joint pain, cause many women to discontinue using AIs. Alternatives are needed.

In their study, researchers at the Center of Excellence in Cancer Research at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, set out to explore a radical and counterintuitive hypothesis: Could an optimal choice of hormones lead to improved survival factors and quality of life, enough to outweigh any negative effect on tumor recurrence? Radicalbecause current standard of practice considers hormone treatment of any type absolutely contraindicated following hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Counterintuitive because estrogen-blocking aromatase inhibitors, a nearly opposite treatment, are the current adjuvant treatment for women after hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

Results from this study in a mouse model suggest the answer to their question is "
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Contact: Elaine Lissner
pr@parsemusfoundation.org
415-839-6304
Parsemus Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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