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Obesity and overeating during menopause together promote breast tumor growth and progression
Date:12/7/2012

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A second reason for the enhanced tumor growth and progression in obese rats compared with lean rats was that tumors from the two groups of animals had different molecular profiles. Tumors from obese rats had higher levels of expression of the progesterone receptor (PR), which was related to higher expression of genes involved in energy use and proliferation.

A similar pattern of increased expression of genes involved in energy use and cell growth was seen in human PR-positive breast tumors from postmenopausal women. According to MacLean, a final piece of evidence indicating that obesity and overfeeding during the menopausal transition converge to promote tumor growth and progression was that the antidiabetic drug metformin reduced tumor burden in obese rats after surgical ovariectomy.

"If our findings in rats translate to humans, it means that the perimenopausal period is a critical window of time for determining breast cancer risk later in life," said MacLean. "This, in turn, means that an obese woman's risk for postmenopausal breast cancer and poor clinical outcome could be reduced by perimenopausal lifestyle modifications, such as restricting food consumption and increasing exercise, and/or perimenopausal use of drugs, such as metformin, to improve metabolic control."

MacLean and colleagues are now testing this hypothesis in the rat model.


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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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