Beta blockers, also called beta-adrenergic blocking agents, treat a variety of conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma and migraines. They act on the ADRB receptors, which are also found on the heart causing the heart to beat harder and faster under stress and are involved in maintaining blood flow.
When the ADRB receptors on cancer cells are activated, they set into motion a chain of events that leads to formation of new blood vessels that feed tumor growth a process known as angiogenesis. New blood vessel formation allows tumors to grow and spread more rapidly. Beta blocking agents stop this process.
"Prior to our work, the concept of stress hormones driving cancer growth was very new and only very limited information about the effect of beta blockers on cancer outcomes in humans has been available," said Guillermo Armaiz-Pena, Ph.D., instructor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and first author of the study. "This study provides incentive to further explore beta blockers as a possible supplement to traditional cancer therapies."
A Mystery Pathway Revealed
While NA the most abundant stress hormone in the ovary has been proven to modulate multiple cellular functions important for cancer progression, how it does so had remained a puzzle. Sood's team used a multi-step process to determine how the tumor microenvironment is disrupted by stress hormones.
First, the researchers exposed ovarian cancer cells to NA and identified a number of proteins altered by stress hormones. Using bioinformatics analysis, they narrowed potential mediators to Src.
A series of subsequent experiments designed to verify the biological roles of Src in promotin
|Contact: Scott Merville|
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center