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More Stress, More Cancer

A recent research has found that more stress can lead to the growth and spread of cancer. Controlling stress can restrain the cancer. //

A remarkable finding suggests that stress results in the release of hormones that aggravate the growth of cancer. Norepinephrine, a hormone released during stress stimulates cancer cells to produce two compounds that can breakdown the tissue around tumor cells. This enables the cells to move easily into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body leading to metastasis.

A report in the latest issue of the journal, 'Cancer Research' suggests that Norepinephrine can also stimulate the tumor cells to release another compound thataids in the growth of new blood vessels. These blood vessels feed the cancer cells, thus hastening the growth and spread of the disease. 'This opens up an entirely new way of looking at stress and cancer that's different from current interpretations,' explained Ronald Glaser, a professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University.

Glaser and Eric Yang, a research scientist in the same institute, focused on the role of these three compounds. Two of them, both matrix metalloproteinases -- MMP-2 and MMP-9 -- play a role in breaking down the scaffolding that cells attach to in order to maintain their shape. The third compound, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is important in the growth of new blood vessels into tumor cells.

Earlier work by researcher Anil Sood at the University of Texas had shown that the same stress hormones could stimulate ovarian tumor cells to produce these three compounds. The key to that discovery was that the two stress hormones – epinephrine and norepinephrine – would bind to places on the surface of ovarian cancer cells, called adrenergic receptors, and stimulate the release of MMP-2, MMP-9 and VEGF which might then fost
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