"The mice that were pregnant nursed their offspring, and a protective effect could be related to pregnancy, lactation, or both. Additional studies are needed to identify the specific mechanism."
While scientists do know that early onset of menopause increases a woman's risk of getting bladder cancer, pregnancy hasn't generally been considered a possible factor in determining one's risk for bladder cancer, said Reeder.
Reeder's team used a sophisticated imaging instrument known as a cone-beam CT scanner to take some of the most detailed images ever of a developing cancer in mice with the disease. Cancers of the bladder grow into the hollow space from the lining of the bladder, somewhat resembling tiny heads of sprouting broccoli.
The imaging was done thanks to a collaboration with scientists at Koning Inc., a Rochester-based start-up company based on technology developed by Ruola Ning, Ph.D. Koning scientist David Conover worked closely with Reeder's team to customize the technology to evaluate bladder cancer as it develops.
The results highlight a possible role for hormones in bladder cancer, perhaps like the known role hormones have in the development of breast cancer. Most hormone research in bladder cancer has focused on male hormones such as testosterone and their capability of boosting the cancer process.
In April, Reeder's team published an article in BMC Urology showing one way male hormones might boost bladder cancer risk. The team demonstrated a link between testosterone and the ability of new tissue to form new blood vessels, a crucial ability for cancerous tissue as it seeks to grow.
Scientists showed that male mice with a normal amount of testosterone have less of a protein known as thrombospondin-1 (TSP1), which helps to stop new blood vessels from form
|Contact: Tom Rickey|
University of Rochester Medical Center