Common Hormone Could Help Half of Breast Cancer Patients
New research from Cambridge University in the U.K. suggests that adding the hormone progesterone to breast cancer treatment could benefit half of breast cancer patients.
For the study, researchers first used advanced DNA reading technology to identify where the estrogen receptor connects to DNA to activate genes that drive cancer cell growth. Next, they grew breast cancer cells with and without progesterone.
Their findings, published in Nature, found that progesterone appears to slow the growth of cancer cells by changing estrogen receptor interaction with DNA. Patients with estrogen receceptor breast cancers are often treated with drugs like tamoxifen to block estrogen receptors. The study suggests that adding progesterone--a cheap, safe and widely available drug-- to their treatment could help them live longer.
The research is still in its early phases--the effect has been seen only in the lab--but scientists hope they will be able to begin testing in humans soon.