Boston, MA According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. For patients whose breast cancers are hormone-dependent, current treatment focuses on using drugs that block estrogen (a type of hormone) from attaching to estrogen receptors on tumor cells to prevent the cells from growing and spreading.
In a new study, first study author, Sandro Santagata, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Department of Pathology, and senior study author Tan A. Ince MD, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (formerly of BWH Department of Pathology), along with a team of researchers from both institutions found that there are other receptors that can be targetedandrogen and vitamin D receptors.
The findings offer the possibility of expanding the ways patients with breast cancer are treated with hormone therapy.
"These findings may change how we treat breast cancer," said Santagata. "Since at least 50 percent of patients with breast cancer express all three receptorsestrogen, androgen and vitamin D in their tumor cells, this may allow clinicians to consider triple hormone treatments, which is a new concept, as opposed to treating patients by targeting only estrogen receptors."
The study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
When clinicians categorize human breast cancer tumors, they do so by grouping them into one of three categories based on the type of receptor present or absent on the tumor: estrogen receptor (ER positive/negative), progesterone receptor (PR positive/negative), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 positive/negative).
In the study, the researchers explored the landscape of cells that make up the surfaces of breast tissue to provide a better definition of the subtypes of cells present on these surfaces. They studied more than 15,000 normal breast cells and discove
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Brigham and Women's Hospital