A recent study shows that breast cancer patients could benefit from having the very common and cheap progesterone hormone added in their treatment.
The breast tumors that are fuelled by estrogen, another female hormone, are currently being treated with the help of drugs such as tamoxifen in order to block the receptors of estrogen, which cause the cancer cells to increase. Tamoxifen is one of the best drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer. The tumors of breast cancer patients who also have receptors for progesterone have a better overall outlook, but for decades scientists couldn’t figure out why this is the case, claims the new study regarding breast cancer treatment.
A team of scientists has revealed at the time how the progesterone receptor communicates to the estrogen one inside the cells containing cancer to make them change how they behave. This ultimately leads to the slowing of the cancer growth.
Jason Carroll of the Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute said that they used new technology in order to find out the role of the progesterone receptors in breast cancer tumors, which is something that confused scientists for a very long time. He added that the new research assists in understanding why some women with breast cancer have a better outlook than others.
The team of scientists revealed that cancer cells grown in a laboratory ended up growing half in size when being treated with tamoxifen and progesterone. Carlos Caldas, one of the researchers in the study said that this treatment tends to control the breast cancer tumors a lot better. However, he also added that further trials are necessary to prove that this new treatment is indeed better for women who suffer of breast cancer.
Dr. Emma Smith who is the senior science communication officer at the Cancer Research UK said that this brilliant new study shows exactly how a widely available, safe and cheap drug can possibly improve the treatment for about half of the patients who suffer from this terrible disease.
According to the scientists, there are about 50,000 cases of breast cancer every year in the United Kingdom and about half of these new cases could benefit from this crucial discovery. The new study that claims progesterone can treat breast cancer has been published in the Nature journal.
Image Source: mercedcancersociety.org
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